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TRAVELS 

IN 

CIRCASSIA, 

KRIM-TARTARY, &c. 



L STEAM VOrAOE DOWN THE DANUBE, FROM VIENNA T 
CONSTANTINOPLE, AND ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 



By EDMUND SPENCER, Esq. 

Aueur^" TrapdiiiUlit Walim CBM camu," 4c. 



A TORKIHH FAMILY PICTURE. 

STIiirli dilion. 
IN TWO VOLUMES. 

VOL. I. 

LONDON : 

HENBY COLflURN, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET. 

1839. 



.574 



LONDON: 

PHINTBD BY IBOTSON AND PALMIIR, 
SAVOY STRBBT, STRAND 



W 



» 



/D..AJ^JLA.^^y^ 






PREFACE. 



The events which have takea place withia the 
last few months in Persia, Herat, and India, 
and their intimate connexion with Circassia, and 
the. other Asiatic countries on the Black Sea, 
^hich recently formed the theatre of my wander- 
^ings, have induced me to submit to the public a 
cheap and revised edition of this work. 

Connected as the conquest of Circassia con- 
fessedly is, however remotely, with the security of 
our Eastern empire, we cannot wonder at the 
increasing importance attached to it by men of 
every shade of political opinion, nor at the un- 
disguised apprehension with which its possible 
consummation is regarded. During a long series 
of years has Russia unnoticed, unheeded by 
slumbering Europe, pursued step by step her 

h 2 



IV PREFACE. 

plans for the subjugation of the Caucasus; but 
now for the first time, through the instrumentality 
of the free press of England, a knowledge of 
the real state of that interesting country has 
been conveyed to the most remote corners of the 
globe. 

The patriotic eflforts of the brave mountaineers 
to defend their humble hearths from the grasp 
of the invader, and the unequal strife in which 
they have been so long engaged,* are appreciated 
as they deserve, and their cause has won the 
sympathy of every humane and enlightened 
man in every part of civilised Europe ; for whe- 
ther in Paris or Vienna, in Berlin, Naples, or 
Madrid, Circassia is the theme of discussion at 
every conversazione ; the most fervent wishes are 
breathed for the ultimate success of her arms, 
while the oppressor who would destroy her is 
branded with every epithet that tyrannous cruelty 
deserves. 

But will the expressed indignation of Europe 
avail to arrest ambition in its career? Will 
any demonstration of public opinion, however 

* Last year terminated the twelfth campaign of the Rus- 
sians against the mountaineers of the Caucasus I A popu- 
lation of sixty millions opposed to four ! without any results 
being obtained to the invaders, save the erection of a iew 
forts on the coasts of the Black Sea. 



PREFACE. V 

Strong, turn aside a powerful government like 
Russia from pursuing a policy when interest 
counsels its continuance ? We fear not. It must 
therefore be evident that the further encroach- 
ments of Russia on the territory of her neigh- 
bom's must be met with more powerful weapons 
— force to force. 

I am no advocate for war, but every man ac- 
quainted with the aggrandising policy of Russia 
must be aware that the time has arrived when it 
is imperative upon us to place a barrier against 
the further advances of a power that threatens to 
become a dangerous rival — a powerful enemy. 



With respect to my travels through Krim- 
Tartary, and my voyage round the Black Sea, 
I was indebted to the courtesy of Count Wor- 
renzow, at that time governor-general of New 
Russia. That excellent nobleman not only fa- 
cilitated my excursions through the interior of 
the countries over which he exercised almost 
sovereign authority, but in the kindest manner 
invited me to accompany him on his coasting 
expeditions, thus affording me an opportunity of 
visiting the whole of the Russian ports and set- 
tlements on the coast of the Crimea, Circassia, 
and Mingrelia — countries which had been 



VI PREFACE. 

hitherto, for the most part, sealed against the 
intrusion of a stranger. 

The traveller who may adopt a steam-vessel 
as his mode of conveyance from Vienna to Con- 
stantinople, will find in the work a description 
of every object worthy of attention on his route. 
Constantinople and its environs are delineated 
with as much accuracy as a brief s^jour would 
permit. The reader will also find various inter- 
esting particulars relative to Krim-Tartary, and 
traits of the customs, habits, and manners of the 
Nogay Tartars. 

Being the first traveller who penetrated into 
the interior of Circassia, I have endeavoured to 
omit no fact that could tend to develope the 
features of that highly interesting country, or 
the character of its heroic inhabitants. 

The illustrations for the work were sketched 
from nature, and the map of the Black Sea has 
been arranged after the most approved charts 
published by the Russian Admiralty. It will 
be found to contain some valuable additions^ 
gleaned during my voyage and my excursions 
through the interior of the countries in its imme- 
diate vicinity. 

The land occupied by the confederated 
princes of Circassia, marked as independent 
from the Kouban to the Salamache, or Burzuk- 



PREFACE. Vll 

lu river, on the frontiers of Mingrelia, corre- 
sponds with the boundaries laid down in the 
chart of General Khatov, published by order of 
the Russian government a few years previously 
to the Adrianople Treaty — an important admis- 
sion when considered with reference to the 

« 

question as to the right which Russia derives 
from Turkey to Circassia. 

The position of the ports and settlements on 
the coast will be found perfectly accurate ; but 
as several have two names, Turkish and Russian, 
and often a third, Circassian ; in order to avoid 
confusion, I have adopted that most generally 
known, and in such cases as were doubtful I have 
given two. 

Even divested of any connexion with politi- 
cal events, the beautiful valleys and mountains 
of Circassia are in every respect calculated to 
attract the geologist, botanist, mineralogist, 
geographer, and the lover of nature. 

In order to facilitate the traveller who may be 
desirous to visit the country, either for the pur 
poses of commerce or science, I have added a 
brief vocabulary of the Circassian and Tartar 
language. The latter he will find very useful, 
as many of the Circassian chieftains are not 
only acquainted with it, but we everywhere, 
throughout the whole of these provinces, meet 



vlii PREFACE. 



with Krim and Nogay Tartars domiciliated, who, 
on the subjugation of their country to the rule 
of Russia, fled into the Caucasus. 

Before I conchide my observations to the 
traveller who may journey in the East, I would 
recommend him to he on his guard against 
the climate, the pernicious effect of which has 
been too fatally proved on European consti- 
tutions. Still, it must be admitted that many 
persons fall victims to their own imprudence, 
rather than to disease : for although dysentery, 
ophthalmia, the common intermittent fever, 
bilious intermittent, &c., prevails in some of the 
provinces on the Black Sea, originating in the 
rank vegetation, jungles^ marshes, and saline 
incrustations ; no danger is to be apprehended, 
provided that the traveller conforms, as much 
as circumstances will permit, to the habits of 
the natives, and takes care not to expose himself 
to the damp chills of the evening after the great 
heat of the day. 

The traveller en route must be more than 
usually abstemious, and what he eats should be 
of the plainest kind. Wine and spirituous 
liquors should be studiously avoided, and, for 
the most part, animal food : for let it be re- 
membered, that the amount of nourishment 
which is moderation in a cold climate may be 



PREFACE. IX 



intemperance in a hot one. It is true, fatigue, 
and long exposure to the sun, notwithstanding 
every precaution, will enervate the frame, and 
predispose it to disease ; but the traveller must 
not yield either to despondency or irritability, 
and, I repeat, he should particularly refrain 
from having recourse to the bottle to excite 
momentary cheerfulness. If, however, he is so 
unfortunate as to be attacked by indisposition, 
every dangerous symptom may generally be re- 
moved in a single night by adopting the most 
simple method of treatment, respecting which, 
Johnson's admirable work on Climates contains 
every information the traveller can desire ; and 
none should leave home without it 

In fact, every man who visits the East should 
in some degree be acquainted with the curative 
art, particularly the use of the lancet : it is also 
advisable that he should carry with him a 
supply of medicine, which he will find not only 
useful to himself, but his character of a skilful 
haMim will elevate him in the estimation of 
the people, and be the surest passport to their 
goodwill. In Circassia, the knowledge of medi- 
cine is considered not as the result of study, 
but the gift of heaven, and the being to whom 
it is vouchsafed, a holy man — to injure whom 
would be sacrilege. 



PREFACE. 



The traveller wbo may be disposed to journey 
through the mountainous districts of Circassia, 
must bear in mind that there is not the slightest 
chance of obtaining any of the comforts of 
civilised life ; and unless he can dispense with 
them, he had better stay at home ; for, unlike 
Europe and many parts of the East, where a 
well-filled purse procures every accommodation, 
here he may be thankful if he obtains the shelter 
of a house. This does not originate in any 
want of hospitality in the inhabitants, but in 
the scantiness of the population, the absence of 
roads, and of places appropriated to public 
refreshment. He should therefore be provided 
with several little necessaries; such as a tent, 
carpet for a bed, a casserole for cooking, bags 
of meal for making cakes, leathern bottles for 
holding his beverage, together with a machine 
for making coffee, which will refresh him when 
weary and enliven him when dull, and is indeed 
invaluable to a traveller in the East. It is also 
indispensable that he should be furnished with 
an introduction to some chieftain or elder of the 
country, who by becoming his konak will be 
answerable to his countrymen for the good 
conduct of the stranger, and that he is not a 
Russian spy. Without this precaution, the 
traveller, * after escaping the Russian cruisers, 



PREFACE. XI 

would find that he had to contend against 
another danger — the united hostility of the 
whole population of Circassia, and he might 
consider himself fortunate if no worse punisli- 
ment was decreed him for his temerity than 
being sold as a slave. 

This severe mode of proceeding has been 
adopted of late years by the confederated princes 
of Circassia towards every stranger, of whatever 
nation or creed, in consequence of the number 
of Russian spies who were accustomed to enter 
the country in disguise. 

E. S. 

London.^ May^ 1839. 



CONTENTS 

OP 

THE FIRST VOLUME. 



LETTER L 

Steam-packet from Vienna to Pest — ^Passengers-- Captain — 
Scenery on the Danube — Pleasures of travelling by steam 
— Arrival at Presburg . . . Piige I . 

LETTBil IL 

Island of Czallokiw- ^IImgar ian peasants — Comom — Beau- 
tiful scenery — Gran— First impressions of Pest — ^Hotel — 
Count Szechenyi — ^National Museum— rimprovements in 
the town — Environs .12 

LETTER IIL 

Spring fair at Pest — ^Magyars — Various tribes of Hungary 
— Singular aspect of tlie people — Races-r-Public dinner 
at the Casino— Similarity of manners between the Hun- 
garian magnats and the English — ^Hungarian hospitality- 
Passport . . • .21 



XIV CONTENTS. 



LETTER IV. 



Character of the Magyars — Their love of liberty — Patriot- 
ism — Adoption of the Hungarian language as that of the 
country — Liberty of the press — Literature — Constitution 
of Hungary — Abject condition of the serf — Privileges 
of the nobility . . . 31 

LETTER V. 

Leave Pest for Galatz — ^The Pannonia steam-boat — Pas- 
sengers — Count Esterliazy — Buffaloes— Aspect of the 
country — Peterwardein, the Gibraltar of the Danube — 
Military cordon of Austria—Flourishing state of the 
colony — Costume of the people • . 43 

LETTER VL 

Carlowitz — River Theiss— Insalubrity of its banks— Semlin 
— Belgrade — Fortifications — Principality of Servia— Fer- 
tility of the country — Vast herds of swine — Prince Milosch 
— His government — Simplicity of the laws — Costume of 
the Servians and Sclavonians — Castle of Semendria— ' 
Turkish fortifications —Sublime scenery of the Danube — 
Castle of Golubacs — Singular poisonous fly — Their dread- 
ful ravages .... 54 

LETTER VII. 

Whirlpools of the Danube— Veterani Cavern — Roman an- 
tiquities — Milanova— Passports — Mehadia Mineral Bath 
— Efiicacy of the Waters — Beauty of the surrounding 
country — Neu Orsova— Detention of the steam-boat by 
the Pacha — Visit to the Pacha— Austrian timidity — 
Cataract of the Danube — Pannonia the first steam-boat 
that passed it — Wild character of the scenery — Prin- 
cipality of Wallachia — Kladova — Turkish Pilots. 65 



CONTENTS. XV 

LETTER VIII. 

Desolation and fertility — Remains of the bridge built by 
Trajan — Enter Bulgaria — Gothic castle at Florentin — 
Widdin — Fortifications — Nikopolis — Rutschuck — Giur- 
ge wo— Wretched appearance of the town and inhabitants 
— Forest of thistles — Curiosity of the Wallachians — 
Silistria — Fortifications — Turks and Russians — Marshes 
— Musquitoes — Advice to travellers . . 75 

LETTER IX. 

Galatz — Miserable aspect of the town — Increasing com- 
merce — Inhabitants — Departure for Constantinople — Pas- 
sengers — German students — Hungarian noblemen — Bes- 
sarabia — Delta of the Danube — Cossack Guard-houses — 
Insalubrity of their situation — General observations . 85 

LETTER X. 

Entrance into the Black Sea — Observations respecting it — 
Storm — German terror — Landing at Varna — Fortifications 
— Thracian Bosphorus — Comparison between the Bay of 
Naples and Stamboul ... 95 

LETTER XL 

Departure for the Dardanelles — Increase of Passengers — 
A Pacha — His harem and suite — Visit to the Pacha of 
the Dardanelles — Moullah — Oriental entertainment — Hall 
of audience — The advantages of a Teskere . . 105 



LETTER XII. 

Chanak-Kalesi — Journey to Troy— Turkish horses — Hun- 
garian travelling companion — Visit to our consul, Mr. 



XVI coNrE^lTs. 

Landor — Aspect of the country— Apathy of the Turks — 
Serious indisposition of my companion — Knavish suridji — 
Scamander — Boumabashi — House of the Agha — Moon- 
light phantoms — Hospitable reception — Hungarian remedy 
for intermittent fever — ^Courtesy of the Agha— Site of 
Troy — Prospect from the tomb of Hector . 113 

LETTER XIII. 

Hellespont — Scenery — Austrian steam-boat — Passe ngers — 
Sea of Marmora — Aspect of the country — First impres- 
sions on arriving at Stamboul — Its splendour and poverty 
— Canine scavengers — Melancholy instance of their 
voracity — ^The suburb Galata — Turkish cemetery — Suburb 
ofPera — Greek boarding-house — English inmates . 126 

LETTER XIV. 

A ramble through Stamboul — Patrol — ^Inflammable nature 
of the buildings — Bazaars — Merchants — Trifling remains 
of antiquity — Aqueduct — The Tower oi Leander — Legend 
attached to it— Beauty of the caiks — Boatmen — Valley of 
Sweet Waters — Its miasma — Turkish promenade— Gay 
assembly — Turkish ladies — Unhealthy aspect of the popu- 
lation — Causes of the insalubrity of Constandnople . 136 

LETTER XV. 

Climate of Constantinople — Aquatic excursions^Picturesque 
appearance of the city — Frank Society — Female slave 
bazaar — Its repulsive features— Value of the women- 
Scarcity of Circassians in the market . . - 150 



CONTENTS. XVU 

LETTER XVI; 

Visit to the mosques with the Russian ambassador— Mosque 
of Valido— of Osman III. — of Solyman the Magnificent-* 
His tomb— Meditations of the Sultan — Mosque of Bajazet 
II. — ^Interior — Mosque of Achmet — Tomb of Semlin II. — 
superb MSS of the Kordn-^Mosque of San Sophia — 
Turkish fiuiaticism^-StjIe of the architecture ^Mosaic 
Paintings — Greneral observations upon the mosques 158 

LETfER XVII. 

Turkish love-affiur -— Courtship — Marriage — Festival — 
Harem — Interior— -Customs and manners of the women — 
Turkish superstition — Sultan*s astrologer — Amulets — 
Decrease of fanaticism— Tolerance of the Mussulmans 
towards Giaours . 169 

LETTER XVIII. 

A few observations upon the state of the Turkish empire 
—Its rise and fall — Russian victories easily achieved-^ 
Turkish character — Intoxication — Innovation of the 
Sultan on the laws of the Kor^ — Efiects on the people 
— The Kor4n — Turkish opinion of Protestantism ~ Demo- 
ralizing tendency of the Mahometen religion-^Its influence 
upon a stranger • . • 160 

LETTER XIX. 

Mount Bulgurlu — Splendid prospect — Reflections — Turkish 
Illuminations — Seraglio — Military school—Cadets —Young- 
Kabardian — Russian triumph . • 190 

VOL. I. C 



XVlll CONTENTS. 

LETTER XX. 

Turkish military — Sultan Mahmoud — His activity — Passion 
for military exercises — The young Turkish princes — 
Their education — The reforms of the Sultan — Difficulties 
of his situation — Russian protection — Enfeebled state of 
the Turkish empire-- Advantages of Turkish commerce to 
England .... 198 

LETTER XXL 

Departure for Odessa — The Bosphorus — Steam-boat — Pas- 
sengers — Karaite Jews — Serpents* Island — Legends con- 
nected with it — Arrival at Odessa — Lord Durham — His 
silent reception at Odessa — Indignation— Lazaretto— Rus- 
sian dinner— Italian opera— Signer Marini — Hotel de 
Richelieu .... 216 

LETTER XXIL 

Steam-boat voyage to Yalta — English mate — First aspect of 
Krim-Tartary — Disappointment— Monastery of St George 
— Its great antiquity— Balaclava — Aloupka — Scenery — 
Villas of the Russian nobility — ^Improved aspect of the 
country — Arrival at Yalta • . 228 

LETTER XXIIL 

Voyage to Circassia with Count Worrenzow — Travelling 
guests of his Excellency — Agreeable sailing— Theodosia — 
Illuminations — Reception of the Governor-general— 
Ancient splendour of the town— Ruined state of its com- 
merce — Caviare — Cimmerian Bosphorus — Arrival at 
Kertch .... 238 



CONTENTS. XIX 

LETTER XXIV. 

Kertch in its present state — ^Banquet — Museum—Hill of 
gold — Opening of a tumulus — Discoveries — Violation of 
the tomb — Tumuli — Extensive ruins in the neighbour- 
hood of Kertch — Seat of Mithridates — Climate • 249 

LETTER XXV. 

First aspect of the Caucasian mountains — Circassians — 
Their hostility to Russia — Proclamation of the King of 
England to tlie Circassians — The Portfolio in the moun- 
tains of the Caucasus — Interview between Count Wor- 
renzow and a Circassian chief — Fortress of Anapa-<- Origin 
of the connexion between the Turks and Circassians — 
Anapa becomes a Pachalik — Political Intrigues — War 
between the Turks and Russians— Disastrous conse- 
quences to the Circassians from their alliance with the 
Turks . . . .260 

LETTER XXVI. 

Arrival at Soudjouk-Kal6 — Its capture by the Russians — 
Advantageous position — Origin of the establishment of 
the Turks at Soudjouk-Kal6— Expulsion of the Turks — 
Supposed antiquity of Soudjouk-Kal6 — Sketch of the 
Russian camp — Plans of the Russian government for the 
final subjugation of Circassia— Arrival of a Circassian 
noble at the camp — His adhesion to the cause of Russia 
— Character of the Circassians — Watch-fires . 270 

LETTER XXVIL 

Voyage to Ghelendjik — Splendid coast scenery-— Arrival at 
Ghelendjik— Advantages of the bay as a harbour — Failure 
of the Russian colony — Fortress — Salubrity of tlie climate 



XK CONTENTS. 

— Bay of Pchad — Hostile attitude of the natives — Fertile 
aspect of the country — Bay of Djook — Boundary betvreen 
Upper and Lower Abasia — Character of the Abasians — 
Defile of Jagra — ^Visit to the fortress— Incessant warfare 
' of the natives— Unheal thiness of the situation • 284 

LETTER XXVIU. 

Increased altitude of the mountains — Pitzounda — Excursion 
to the fortress — Superb forests— Contrast between the 
Circassians and the Russians — Greek church and mo- 
nastery — Evidences of christian feeling still existing 
among the natives — Tradition connected with the church 
— Antiquity of Pitzounda . . • 297 

LETTER XXiX. 

Destruction of Souchom-Kal6 by the Russians— Dangers to 
the garrison from the climate and the enmity of the na** 
tives— Voyage to Redout-Kal6 — Iskuria and Anakria — 
Province of Mingrelia — Changed aspect of the country^ 
Interminable forests-^A storm — Danger of passing the 
bar— Khopi' Excursion up the river — ^Landing at Redout- 
Kale — Desolate aspect of the town • . 304 

LETTER XXX. 

Return to the Crimea — Russian seamanship— A rear-admi- 
ral — Fortunate escape from shipwreck — First view of 
Mount Elberous — Difficulty of landing at Bombora — Visit 
to the fortress — Extraordinary fertility of the soil — 
Number of reptiles — Land tortoise — Hospitality of the 
Abasians — Town of Bombora — Nobles of Abasia — Charac- 
teristics of the Abasians . . . 821 



CONTENTS. XXi 



LETTER XXXI. 

Mortality among the Russian garrisons in the Caucasus- 
Probable cause of this — DifHcuUies attending the con- 
quest of Circassia — A few observations upon Russian 
policy with regard to the Caucasian provinces — Their 
great fertility — ^Hints upon the colonisation best adapted 
to them — Probable effects of Russian conquest upon the 
inhabitants of Circassia . . . 334 

LETTER XXXII. 

Return to the Crimea — English residents — Departure for 
the ancient capital of Krim-Tartary — Ascent of the Ai- 
Petri— Scenery — Singular steppe on the summit of the 
mountain — Perilous descent — Hospitable reception at the 
house of a mourza — Aspect of the inhabitants— Tartar 
Villages — General character of tlie country — Tendency of 
Mahometanism . . . • 348 

LETTER XXXIIL 

Bagtche-Serai as it is — Palace of the Khans — Singular 
Arabic inscriptions — Wanton barbarity of the Russians — 
Environs — Gipsy village — Inhabitants — Ancient church 
and convent — ^Visit to the Jewish fortress Tschoufout- 
Kal6 — Cemetery— Notice on the religion of the Karaite 
Jews .... 362 

LETTER XXXIV. 

Valley of Baida^^Scenery — Hospitality of the Tartars — 
Passage of the Merdven — ^Terrific descentr— Singular con- 
struction of the road— Arrival at Aloupka • 378 



^ I 



XXll CONTENTS. 



LETTER XXXV. 



Chateau of Count Worrenzow at Aloupka — Its architecture 
— Pleasure grounds — Marsanda — ^Its villa — Situation and 
park — Villas of the Russian nobility — The emperor's park 
at Orianda — The Crimea unfavourable to tlie growth of 
forest trees— -F^te-champ^tre given by General Count de 
Witt . . . . .884 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

VOL. I. 



Circassian Warrior Chief in his Gala Costume Frontispiece. 
A Turkish Family Picture • • • Tide. 

View of Presburg • . . • Page 1 

Cossack Guard- house and Watch-tower . . 85 

Giaours smoking the Tchibouque with the Pacha of 

the Dardanelles • • • . .105 

Interior of a Tartar Cottage . . « . 228 

Interview between Count Worrenzow and a Circassian 

Prince ...... 260 

An evening View of the Bay of Soudjouk-Kal6 . 271 

View of a Greek Church built by Justinian at Pit- 

zounda ..••.. 296 
View of the Bay of Souchom-Kal6 • • . 804 

Tartar Peasants near Yalta . • • . 348 

View of the Farm-yard of a Tartar Mourza near Bag- 

tche-Serai . . . • • 362 

Chart of the Black Sea. 



( 



1 



i 



, 



I 



I 



STBAM-PACRKT PROH VIENNA TO PBST — PABSBNOBRS — CAP- 
TAIN — SCKNERV ON THE DANUBE— PLKASURKS OF THA- 
VELLINO BY STRAH — ARRIVAL AT PRKBBDIIO. 

Predittrg, April 5th, 1836. 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I am sure you will agree with me in 
thinking, that among the various modern disco- 
veries which have had their origin in British 
genius, none is fraught with more important 
consequences to the welfare of mankind than 
the steam engine, none since the invention of 
printing more likely, ay, more certain, to prove 
the means of diffusing knowledge and civilisation, 



2 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 

over those regions of the globe, where ignorance 
and fanaticism chain down the intellect of man. 

Whatever direction the tide of improvement 
may ultimately take, its first course appears to be 
towards those lands watered by the Danube, the 
Euxine, and the Bosphorus. Here we already 
behold some of the fairest countries of our hemi- 
sphere called into a new state of existence, and 
attracting the attention of the whole commercial 
and political world. These are the countries I 
am now about to explore, — countries rendered, 
at present, so peculiarly interesting by the novel 
position in which the events of the last few years 
have placed them ; and I only hope I may be 
able to contribute, if not to your extensive fund 
of information and geographical knowledge, at 
least in some degree to your amusement. 

We have certainly to thank that industrious 
traveller, Mr. Quin, for much information re- 
specting the steam navigation of the Danube. 
He happened however, unfortunately, to jour- 
ney down the river at a time when the works 
for improving its navigation were in their in- 
fancy, and in the autumn of a peculiarly dry 
season. Hence he experienced many difficulties 
in the prosecution of his voyage, owing to a 
deficiency of water and other obstructions. Be- 
sides, his tour only extended from Presburg to 



FROM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. d 

Wallachia : thus the whole of the Lower Danube 
to the Black Sea remained a blank, so far as 
regarded its navigation by steam. Fate, however, 
favoured me with a happier combination of cir- 
cumstances. I arrived at Vienna early in the 
spring, when the Danube was swollen by the 
melting of the snow on the mountains, which 
induced the directors of the steam navigation to 
send their first boat, the Nador^ direct from 
Vienna ; for the river, after leaving that city, is 
so shallow during the summer, that no vessel, 
even of moderate burden, can come higher than 
Presburg, This inconvenience, I understand, 
will soon be remedied, as works are in progress 
for deepening the bed of the river ; and a canal 
is now excavating, intended to unite Vienna 
with the great navigable arm of the Danube, 
distant about a league. 

A less attractive object would have sufficed to 
draw crowds of the wonder loving population of 
this gay metropolis ; but so novel an occurrence 
as the departure of the first steam-boat from 
Vienna set half its inhabitants in motion, and so 
early as four in the morning I found the road 
crowded with carriages^ equestrians, and pedes- 
trians. When our little vessel dashed gail} 
forward, the aspect of thousands of spectators, 
cheering us with loud vivatSy not only presented 

B 2 



4 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 

a very animated picture, but gave a hope that 
the enterprise would ultimately prove a profitable 
speculation to the company. 

There could not have been less than from two 
to three hundred persons on board : the arrange- 
ments for general accommodation, I thought, were 
not so good as those in the Rhenish steam -vessels, 
and some of the passengers objected to the high 
charges for refreshment ; and when we take into 
account the low price of provisions in this part 
of the continent, perhaps they did not complain 
without reason : still, to balance this, the fares 
were moderate, that in the chief cabin being no 
more than twelve florins from Vienna to Pest, — 
about a pound sterling. 

The national characteristics of our party were 
not, as you might have expected^ either striking, 
interesting, or novel ; indeed I observed but 
little difference in their manners, customs, and 
costume, from those of our countrymen on board 
a Thames steamer ; and assuredly, if this Au- 
gustan age should continue a few years longer, 
and the facilities for travelling go on increasing, 
the distinctive national features of the different 
European races will be obliterated altogether, 
and we shall appear as if* belonging to the same 
family. 

The majority of our passengers consisted of 




FROM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 5 

belles and beaux from Vienna, who had come 
on a voyage of experiment as to the pleasure of 
travelling by steam, which they soon found to 
be sadly chastised by fear. On learningi how- 
ever, that two Englishmen were on board, (what 
steam -boat in any part of the globe is without 
them?) apprehension overcame timidity, aud 
several of the fair ones came in groups to demand 
of Mr. Newton and myself, if any probability ex- 
isted of an explosion ; evidently taking it for 
granted, that a Briton possessed some intuitive 
faculty of descrying at a distance any peril that 
might threaten a steam-boat. When we assured 
them no danger existed, save in their own ima- 
gination, it was apparently regarded as nothing 
less than the response of an oracle. 

We had also several Hungarians on their way 
to the races at Pest, which were to commence in 
a few days. The physical line of demarcation 
between them and the Austrians rendered it 
impossible to doubt their identity, even for a 
moment ; the Asiatic blood of the one showed 
itself in their fiery eyes, dark hair, light elastic 
forms, and restless demeanour ; while the quiet, 
pale, blonde Austrian appeared good-nature and 
content personified. In the inhabitants of the 
second cabin I found far more variety and na- 
tionality than among their aristocratic neighbours. 



6 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 

Here were encamped, around pyramids of baud- 
boxes, motley tribes of Tyroleans, Styrians, Mo- 
ravians, aud Bohemians, together with Poles and 
Jewish traders, on their way to the fair at Pest. ; 
intermingled with dandy shopmen and smart 
grisettes from the elegant metropolis of Austria, 
who evidently regarded themselves with as much 
self-complacency as they bestowed contempt upon 
the gaudy dresses and vulgar tournure of their 
provincial fellow-travellers. 

After being accustomed to the costume of our 
own tars, you will be amused to learn that of the 
Hungarian captain of our steamer. Hisdiminutive 
figure, for he could not have been more than five 
feet in height, was attired in a hussar jacket, 
richly braided ; and as if this were not sin enough 
against marine manners, his round rosy face was 
ornamented with a tremendous pair of musta- 
chios fiercely curled, and large whiskers growing 
under his chin like a lady's boa ; and these, being 
of a fiery red, contributed to give a most grotesque 
expression to his countenance. The engineer, 
an intelligent young man, a native of Mayence, 
had resided several years in England. He sur- 
prised me with the information that wood was the 
fuel he usually burnt ; for, notwithstanding plenty 
of coal is found in most of the comitats of Hun- 
gary, and even in the vicinity of the Danube, 






FROM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 7 

yet such is the want of enterprise in the people 
of this country, that Newcastle is found a cheaper 
market for supplying the steam-vessels on the 
Danube with coals, than Hungary itself, where 
labour and provisions may be obtained at the 
lowest possible cost. 

So long as we continued within the Duchy of 
Austria, the banks of the river remained low and 
swampy, without a single object to relieve the 
monotony of the landscape, except a distant pros- 
pect of the Kahlenberg and Hungarian hills. On 
passing the island of Lobau, our attention was 
directed for a moment to that dreary spot, so con- 
nected with interesting historical recollections. 
It told of the conquests of Napoleon, of the humi- 
liation of the Austrian empire. However, we 
were not doomed to linger long in this tiresome, 
uninteresting part of the Danube ; for, moving ra- 
pidly onward, aided by the force of a strong cur- 
rent and an engine of forty-two horse power^ we 
soon approached the Hungarian frontier, when 
the banks began to assume a more picturesque 
character. Ruined castles, dilapidated fortifica- 
tions, neat towns, and pretty villages, added to 
vine-clad hills, rich corn-fields, and blooming gar- 
dens, formed a succession of pleasing pictures, 
which continued to cheer us without intermission 
to Presburg. 



8 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 

We ^ere first gratified with a hasty glance of 
Petronell, the Carnuntum of the Romans; which 
still exhibits the remains of the triumphal arch 
erected by Augustus to the honour of Tiberius, 
conqueror of Pannonia : wealsoobtainedaglimpse 
of the famous fortified wall which runs from hence 
to the great Hungarian lake, Neusiedlersee. This 
gigantic work is supposed to have been originally 
constructed by the Germans, as a defence against 
the devastation of the Huns, Tartars, and other 
Asiatic tribes ; and though now a mere ruin, .yet, 
at no more remote a period than a few centuries 
since, it rendered good service to Austria as a 
check against the invading Turks. 

Surely no mode of travelling is half so agree- 
able as a steam-boat on a lake or river ; you are 
neither tormented with dust, nor the numerous 
cUsagrSmens of hotels, rapacious landlords, long 
bills, officious waiters, post-horses not ready, and 
grumbling postilions ; each sufficient of itself to 
exhaust the patience of a traveller. On the con- 
trary, here our expenses may be regulated with 
exact precision, and as we glide rapidly forward, 
there is just sufficient time to admire the scenery 
as in a panorama, while the distance veils its im- 
perfections. The humblest village, with its tiny 
church, appears the very abode of content and 
happiness ; and should the landscape become mo- 




FHOM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 9 

notonous, or the weather unfavourable, we are 
almost certain to find in the cabin good society, 
or at least some traits in the manners and cha- 
racter of the passengers, sufiicient to prevent 
the approach of ennui. 

But, to descend from general observations to 
those suggested by the locality, the tour of the 
Danube should be made in spring, for then we 
are not tormented with stinging musquitoes, or 
a burning sun. Nature is also dressed in her 
brightest smiles, and, as she now appeared, I could 
not too much admire the delicately rich verdure 
of the pastures and meadows, nor the gardens 
and orchards, clothed in all their varied flowery 
tints, resembling so many bouquets ; while the 
young com, here waving in the wind, there burst- 
ing from its earthly prison in all the strength and 
vigour of renewed life, gave an additional charm 
to the beautiful landscape. 

One of the most interesting pictures presented 
tons was Deutsch-Altenburg, with its fine modern 
castle and pretty church, situated on the summit 
of a bill ; and I much regretted that we passed so 
rapidly, as not to permit me taking a sketch of 
Haimburg, beautifully grouped round the base of 
a mountain, crowned by a picturesque ruin : and 
should any of our clever painters journey to the 
Danube in search of a landscape to adorn one of 



10 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 

our pretty annuals, I would by all means counsel 
Haimburg, withTheben (Dowina) on the opposite 
bank, should form the subject of his pencil, com- 
bining as they do all that can be called pic- 
turesque in the mouldering ruin, the disrupted 
fortification, and the most lovely river scenery. 
Theben, now so solitary and insignificant, was at 
one time a town of great importance, being men- 
tioned in the history of the German wars so 
early as the seventh century ; and to judge from 
the extent and strength of the fortifications, the 
altitude of the hill, and commanding position, it 
must have been a most formidable military posi- 
tion. 

We remained about half an hour at Presburg, 
sufficiently long to allow me to take a sketch of 
the town, with the royal castle of the kings of 
Hungary proudly seated on the last peak of the 
lower chain of the Carpathians. However inter- 
esting and picturesque Presburg may appear from 
the steam-boat, it does not improve upon a more 
intimate acquaintance, particularly when we re- 
member itwastbecapital of so extensive akingdom 
as Hungary : the streets, besides being narrow, 
are badly built and ill paved, and, with the excep- 
tion of a few good inns, there is not the slightest 
appei^rance of improvement or commercial acti- 
vity. The splendid castle is deserted and fast 



FROM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 11 

falling to decay, and many of the wealthy nobles, 
who resided here when it was the capital, liave 
removed to Vienna or Pest, leaving their spacious 
palaces without tenants, the numerous windows of 
which being broken, and covered with dust and 
cobwebs, contribute not a little to the desolation 
of the picture. The sittings of the Diet are still 
held here, and the brows of the Emperor of Aus- 
tria here wreathed with the diadem of Hungary, 
a ceremony I had the pleasure of witnessing some 
years since. In conformity with the ancient in- 
stitutions of the country, the newly-crowned mo- 
narch is obliged to ascend the Konigsberg (king's 
mountain) on horseback, armed with the sword of 
King Stephen, the saint and patron of Hungary, 
when he extends it towards the four quarters of 
the globe ; at the same time swearing, by the 
holy saint, to protect his subjects from their foes, 
on whatever side they may be assailed, and also 
to maintain intact their constitution, laws, and 
religion. 
Farewell ! 



12 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE, 



LETTER II. 

ISLAND OF CZALLOKOZ — HUNGARIAN PEASANTS — COMORN — 
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY — GRAN — .FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF PEST 

HOTEL — COUNT SZECHENTI NATIONAL MUSEUM — IM- 

PROYEMENTS IN THE TOWN— EN YI RONS. 

A SHORT distance after leaving Presburg, the 
Danube divides into two great arms, and forms 
the island of Czallokoz, twenty-four leagues in 
length, and fourteen in breadth. It is consi- 
dered very fertile ; and the multitude of villages 
scattered over it, with the agricultural fields and 
numerous flocks and herds, impart to the land- 
scape a very pleasing effect. Still, as the whole 
surface is flat, the monotony of the scenery would 
not be sufficiently relieved, were it not occasion- 
ally broken by the endless water-mills, together 
with the heavily-laden boats drawn against the 
stream by fifty or sixty horses ; and these, being 
driven by some of the wildest-looking human 
beings in Europe, form one of the most novel 
features on the Danube. The Hungarian peasant, 
it is true, advances many and strong claims to 
originality of costume, yet in this respect he is 




FROM VIENNA TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 13 

entirely eclipsed by the Danube boatmen, whose 
attire consists of trousers as wide as petticoats, 
coarse hemp tunics, and monstrous broad-brimmed 
liats ; while their legs and feet are left exposed 
alike to the burning sun and the rudest blasts of 
heaven. But it is the wild expression of their 
swarthy, weather-beaten countenances, aided by a 
profusion of sable hair streaming over their shoul- 
ders, and the loud howling chorus with which 
they cheer their horses, that imparts to them an 
appearance so savage, that you might deem your- 
self transported a thousand miles from civilised 
Europe. 

Leaving Raab to the right, we soon after passed 
Comorn, the principal town of a comitat, still 
strongly fortified, and justly entitled to the epi- 
thet of the ** maiden fortress ;" for, during the 
whole of the wars and invasions to which Hungary 
was exposed, it was never captured. Here the 
two great arms of the Danube unite, and, being 
increased by the accession of the deep waters of 
the Waag, form a superb stream, which hurried 
us on with great velocity till we arrived at Gran — 
a very considerable town, and capital of a comitat. 
The noble edifice now erecting on a rock over-^ 
hanging the town is intended to be the residence 
of the archbishop, primate of Hungary, one of 



14 PEST AND BUDA. 

the wealthiest and most influential magnats in 
the kingdom. 

The scenery now exhibited on the banks of the 
Danube was superior in grandeur to a^iiy I had 
seen since leaving Vienna; mountains of porphyry 
rose up on either side, adorned with ruined 
castles and convents ; and as our river had be- 
come swelled by the waters of the Gran, its 
already contracted channel seemed scarcely sufli- 
cient to contain the foaming tide: there was the 
fine old town of Wissegrad, with its many towers 
and spires rearing their stately forms among the 
clustering vines on the hills ; while elevated on 
a lofty peak proudly rose, in all the splendour of 
decayed magnificence, the royal residence of the 
kings of Hungary. Then, after passing a suc- 
cession of amphitheatres, formed by the windings 
of this most serpentine of rivers, a few incon- 
siderable towns and villages, and a perfect city 
of water-mills, we cast anchor at Pest, having 
completed our journey in fifteen hours. 

As my Hungarian friends at Vienna had been 
most eloquent in praise of the beauty of the towns 
of Buda and Pest, they had become in some de- 
gree familiar to my imagination ; and I candidly 
confess, after making a few deductions on the 
score of national vanity, the first coup deceit fully 




PEST AND BUDA. 16 

answered my expectations. On one side you 
have a most imposing view of the fine old city of 
Buda, swept by the vast stream which here, some- 
what impeded in its progress by a majestic curve, 
swells into a foaming surge. From its banks the 
proud city gradually ascends the lofty mountain 
amidst the varied foliage of terraced gardens ; 
the whole crowned by the citadel and the splen- 
did palace of the Palatinate, which increase, in no 
inconsiderable degree, the loveliness of the sur- 
rounding landscape. 

Pest, on the opposite bank, has not the advan* 
tage of a commanding situation, being built on a 
plain ; yet, when viewed in detail, it is an infi- 
nitely more beautiful town, and the public and 
private edifices are of a superior class. This is 
principally owing to the patriotic feeling which 
has lately prompted the Hungarian magnats to 
embellish their own capital instead of the imperial 
Vienna ; and while rambling through the interior 
of the town, or along the banks of the Danube, 
we are constantly reminded, by the frequent occur- 
rence of fine modern buildings, of the wealth and 
taste of the inhabitants. 

Should this laudable spirit of improvement con- 
tinue, it is not improbable that Pest and Buda, 
which we may consider as one town, will ere long 
eclipse Vienna : the climate is more salubrious. 



16 PEST AND BUD A. 

the situation far superior in a commercial point of 
view, and, now that steam navigation is esta- 
blished, it has every prospect of becoming a flou- 
rishing port. Add to which, it is the metropolis 
of a kingdom, with a rich patriotic nobility^ a 
population of nearly ** fourteen millions, and a 
soil unequalled in Europe for fertility. « In short, 
this fine country is now commencing a new epoch, 
having been hitherto kept back by the unnatural 
rule of a stepmother ; but steam navigation has 
given her an accession of strength and vigour, 
that bids fair to place her in a short time at a 
high point in the scale of European civilisation. 
I put up my pilgrim's staff at the J'ager-horn, 
(hunter's horn,) the largest, most convenient, 
and, I may add, magnificent-looking hotel in 
Hungary, whose gigantic porter in his rich livery, 
cocked-hat, and golden-headed cane, as he pro- 
menaded beneath the lofty portal, appeared a fit 
appendage to such an establishment. The gene- 
ral appointments of the house were also in keep- 
ing with its exterior ; among these we may reckon 
a serenade the live-long day by an excellent 

* Count Nagy, well known as the author of several valu- 
able literary works on Hungary, assured me that this coun- 
^ry» together with Transylvania, and the space included in 
the military cordon on the Turkish frontier, contained the 
population I have speci^ed. 



PEST AND BUDA. 17 

band of music, and the traveller who has once 
dined upon the well-cooked viands of the Parisian 
cuisinieTf will not fail to revisit the J'ager-hom. 
However, in consequence of arriving during the 
season of the races and the great spring fair, the 
apartments bore a high premium ; and, in truth, 
it was almost as difficult to obtain a quartier 
among the high-born magnats, as to procure a 
ticket from the high-bred patronesses of Almack's. 

I was fortunate in meeting at Pest with several 
friends, particularly the Count Etienne Sze- 
chenyi, the distinguished patrician to whose pa- 
triotic exertions Hungary is so deeply indebted. 
The traveller has to thank his unwearied perse- 
verance for the facility of steam navigation on the 
Danube, and his country owes to him a variety 
of institutions, all tending to promote her re- 
generation. Agriculture, the arts, sciences, and 
industry, are encouraged by judiciously-bestowed 
premiums ; this has had the effect, not only of 
bringing forward native talent, but promoting 
the culture of the indigenous productions of the 
soil, — the wines, flax, hemp, grain, tobacco, 
wool, tallow, &c., whose excellence has been 
hitherto nearly unknown, are now beginning to 
be appreciated by the commercial world, accord- 
ing to their real value. 

The national museum, founded in 1802, owes 

VOL. I. c 



18 PEST AND BUDA. 

its origin to the patriotic exertions and muni- 
ficent donations of another member of this public- 
spirited family, the Count Francis Szechenyi ; 
and whether we regard the splendour of the 
building) the rich collection of antiquities, 
medals, and armour, the rare specimens of mine- 
rals, or the numerous and well-selected library, 
with its interesting manuscripts, we shall, not 
find this institution surpassed by any other of a 
similar nature in the Austrian empire, more 
especially as it is richly endowed with funds, 
which are applied to the purchase of such objects 
as arc curious in nature, or interesting in art. 

In order to give you some idea of the improve- 
ments in this town and the habits of the people, 
it is only necessary to say that, little more than 
half a century ago, Pest was composed in great 
part of mere huts, surrounded by high walls and 
stagnant moats^ without lamps, pavement, or any 
other of the comforts of civilised life; for then 
the noble and the wealthy spent their time and 
riches, basking in the sunny smiles of court 
favour at Vienna, Whereas, we now see on the 
banks of the Danube a range of buildings, which 
would be admired for the beauty of their archi- 
tecture even in the meridian of London or 
Paris. On the spot where a marsh once shed 
around its pestilential exhalations, we behold a 



PEST AND BUDA. 19 

noble piazza, adorned, among other striking 
edifices, by the palaces of the rich raagnats, 
Urmenyi, Festetics, &c. The high wall and 
fortifications have been also rased to the ground, 
and the space converted into a wide and well- 
kept road, which separates the town from its 
extensive faubourgs. 

In addition to these improvements, there is the 
richly-endowed university with its beautiful hall, 
the town-house, the military hospital, the artil- 
lery barracks, several noble churches, the palaces 
of the nobility, and the new theatre with its 
redout-saal and coffee-house ; all distinguished in 
a greater or less degree for their architecture. 
Pest and Buda are also liberally furnished with 
hospitals and benevolent institutions; among 
many others, there is the orphan-house, the 
citizen^s hospital, and similar establishments for 
the Wallachians, Greeks, and Jews; besides 
charitable institutions, formed by a society of 
ladies, for the education of blind children, and 
the maintenance of blind adults. 

The chain of hills that encircle Buda, and add 
so materially to the beauty of the landscape, are 
not only celebrated for the excellent quality of 
the wines they produce, but for the mineral 
baths, which here have their source, affording 
agreeable resorts to those who are seeking 

c 2 



20 PEST AND BUDA. 

amusement, and holding out the promise of 
relief to others who are searching after health. 
Thus you may easily imagine that Buda and 
Pest, with a united population of upwards of a 
hundred and fire thousand, the former the seat 
of government, the latter the great mart of 
commerce, possessing all the advantages of good 
society and a fine climate, form altogether a 
delightful residence. 

With respect to the antiquity of these towns, 
there are Tarious contradictory accounts; the 
most generally believed is, that Buda was founded 
bv a colony of Romans, who gave it the name 
of Acquineum ; subsequently it became the seat 
of Attila and Arpad, and then bore the name of 
Etelvar till the year 1351, when it received the 
Hungarian name Buda-var. On perusing the 
historical records of the country, I find it very 
narrowly escaped the fate of all those that had 
the misfortune to fall beneath the sway of the 
Osmanlis, the capital, Buda, having continued in 
their hands from 1541 to 1686. 



FAIR AT PEST. 21 



LETTER III. 

9PHIN0 FAIR AT PBST — MAGYARS — VARIOUS TRIBES OF HUN- 
GARY — SINGULAR ASPECT OF THE PEOPLE — RACES^- 
PUBLIC DINNER AT THE CASINO — SIMILARITY OF MAN- 
NERS BETWEEN THE HUNGARIAN MAGNATS AND THE 
ENGLISH— HUNGARIAN HOSPITALITY— PASSPORT. 

As I happened to be at Pest during the great 
spring fair and the races, I was not only pro- 
vided with ample materials for amusement, but 
an opportunity of seeing the motley population of 
natives and strangers, which are usually attracted 
on this and similar occasions ; for, though the Mag- 
yars, who have given their name to Hungary, are 
the greatest landed proprietors, and bold the reins 
of government, yet they are inferior in numerical 
force to the Sclavonians, (or Totoks,) the ori- 
ginal inhabitants. These are divided into at 
least half a dozen separate tribes, each speaking 
a different patois ; and if to them we add the colo- 
nies of Germans, Wallachians, Greeks, Arme- 
nians, French, Italians, Jews^ and Gipsies, speak- 
ing their own languages and retaining their 



22 FAIR AT PEST. 

national maimers, ciistomB, aatl religion, we may 
term Hungary a miniature picture of Europe. 

My first lounge was through the fair, whicli 
afforded as many groups for the painter as for the 
observer of life and manners : the Babel-like con- 
fusion of tongues was endless, and the costume 
and appearance of the motley tribes could not 
have been equalled in variety by any other fair in 
Europe, or even by the most entertaining maskers 
that ever trod the Piazza San Marco, or the 
Corso at Rome, because here each performed his 
natural character. The most prominent figures 
in the group were ever the proud Magyars, par- 
ticularly those Just arrived from the provinces. 
The dress of some of these noblemen was indeed 
singular, consisting of a tight sheep-skin coat, or 
mantle, the woolly side inwards ; white the other 
was gaudily embroidered all over with the gayest 
flowers of the parterre, in coloured silk, among 
which the t^lip was ever the most prominent. 
l''hose whose wealth permitted it, were to be seen 
habited in their half-military, half-civil costume; 
and you might in truth fancy, from their haughty 
demeanour, that you were beholding a feudal 
untry of the middle ages, as, 
fiery steeds and armed with 
they galloped through the 
upon whom, when the slight- 



FAIR AT PEST. 23 

est interruption occurred, they glanced with 
scorn and contempt. 

Among crowds of Jews, Turks, Greeks, Ar- 
menians, Tyrolians, Germans, Sclavonians, Ita- 
lians, and Hungarian peasants, were groups of 
gipsies, their black matted locks shading their 
wild sun-burnt countenances, exhibiting their 
dancing dogs, bears, and monkeys, or playing a 
lively tune for the amusement of the surrounding 
multitude, these itinerants being the popular 
musicians of Hungary. In another part of the 
fair, mountebanks on elevated platforms were 
relating the exploits of the famous robber Schru- 
bar in the great forest of Bakony ; or the ravages 
committed by the dreadful monster, half-serpent, 
half-flying dragon, that lately rose out of the 
Balaton lake, together with the most veritable 
history of the re-appearance of the renowned 
Merman, who had inhabited, for the last two 
years, his own extensive domain, the Hansag 
marshes. All these astonishing marvels, besides 
hundreds of others, were listened to by the 
peasants, not only with attentive ears, but open 
mouths, and were illustrated by paintings as 
large as life, depicting the extraordinary won- 
ders, executed in a style which set all imitation 
at defiance. 

Bread, cakes, cheeses, vegetables, &c., were 



24 FAIR AT PEST. 

heaped on liigh in the streets, with the owners of 
each separate pile squatted Id the midst. The 
savoury odour of multiplied stalls of frying sau- 
sages attracted some gourmands ; whilst others 
feasted on the lighter refreshments of pastry, 
which the accomplished cuisiniers were preparing 
for their gratification. 

But the popular viand was evidently the cray- 
fish, which all ranks, however otherwise engaged, 
were incessantly consuming; nor did they in this 
manifest any deficiency in go^t, as the flavour of 
the little dainties was really excellent, and I have 
rarely seen them exceeded in size. Indeed, to 
thread the mazes of this great Hungarian fair, so 
as to obtain a view of its rarities, was an under- 
taking of no little difficulty, on account of the 
immense pyramids of wool, hides, tobacco, and 
other raw materials, which ever stood in the way; 
and as these articles were most tempting baits to 
the cupidity of the Jewish traders, they might 
constantly be seen making use of all their cajoling 
ailing upon the artless pea- 
wares at a price little more 
;n, however, the case was 
gaudy merchandise of the 
traders induced the peasant 
r, the balance of trade was 
bim. 



FAIR AT PEST. 25 

But, perhaps, of all the various groups over 
which my eye wandered, none more strongly 
arrested my attention than the Saxon colonists : 
these were attired in the same costume in which 
their ancestors some centuries gone by had emi- 
grated from their father- land, their blue eyes and 
heavy quiet countenances forming a striking con- 
trast to the vivid glances of the half Asiatic people 
around them. Nor were their moral traits less 
distinctively defined ; for the prudent German, 
well knowing he was in the society of some of the 
most accomplished pickpockets on the continent, 
wisely determined that they should not prey upon 
him^ for he did not once remove his hand from 
his pocket ; while his good woman never failed to 
keep watch behind, attended by her little ones, 
who, on the approach of the half-wild gipsy, 
timidly covered their flaxen heads in the many 
folds of mamma's cumbrous petticoat. 

I would, above all things, recommend every 
traveller who may visit Pest during the spring 
fair, not to leave it without taking a morning's 
ramble through the town ; he will then see thou- 
sands of men, women, and children, lying about 
the streets, beneath the piazzas, or in the nume- 
rous barks on the river, with no other covering 
save the canopy of heaven and their own sheep- 
skin mantles : he will also, still more to his sur- 



36 RACES. 

prise, behold them anointing their persons with 
lardy in order to protect themselves during the 
day from the effect of heat/ and the bites of ver- 
min and insects. 

My first excursion in the environs was to the 
plain of Rakos, famous for being the spot on which 
the Hungarians, in their primitive state, were 
accustomed to hold their Diet under the free 
canopy of heaven ; and now not less famous for 
being that on which the first races were celebrated 
in Hungary, under the auspices of Mr. Gordon, 
formerly our ambassador at Vienna. 

These races, which are some of the best I have 
seen out of England, differ in nothing from those 
in it, except that, towards the conclusion, the 
peasants perform matches, encouraged by the 
society for promoting the breed of horses ; and as 
they ride in their peculiar costume, and without 
saddles, the exhibition of at least a dozen such 
wild-looking jockeys is always productive of much 
mirth and fun, as it generally happens that more 
than half the riders are most unceremoniously 
hurled to the earth. 

A vast concourse of people had assembled to 
witness them ; and as the weather was exceedingly 
fine, I enjoyed not a little the novel spectacle of 
thousands of cavaliers galloping over the field ; 
and I knew not how sufficiently to admire the 



PUBLIC DINNER. 27 

accomplished Hungarian equestrian, who, in his 
splendid hussar uniform, firm in the saddle, and 
light and elastic in action, seemed as if formed to 
guide the spirited animal that carried him ; and 
so appropriate were they to each other, that the 
beauty of each appeared destroyed when sepa- 
rated. We had, besides, every species of vehi- 
cle, from the elegant barouche of the magnat, 
down to the primitive car of the peasants, not 
unlike in form to the arahat of the Nogay Tar- 
tars ; and to describe the motley tribes of specta- 
tors^ would only be to repeat what I have already 
said when giving you an account of the fair. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon, we re- 
turned to Pest, when I was invited to a public 
dinner at the casino of nobles; where, if it had 
not been for the difference in the language, 
and the Asiatic countenances of the guests^ I 
might have concluded I was at a public dinner 
in old England ; the cooking, attendants, toasts, 
speeches, cheering, everything being completely 
in the English style. Indeed, of all the foreign- 
ers among whom I have mixed, there are none 
who assimilate themselves more closely to our 
national manners and customs than the Hunga- 
rian magnats, nor any who receive a Briton 
with more cordiality : our language is universally 
spoken, our literature is generally studied, and 



28 PUBLIC DINNER. 

I found our best publications in the library of 
the casino, and on the tables of every nobleman 
I visited. 

The gentlemen who composed our present 
party were among the most influential, wealthy, 
and enlightened of the Hungarian patriots. Do 
not, however, let this word be understood in a 
political sense : I only mean that they have con- 
secrated their best energies to the benefit and 
improvement of their country ; and as you have 
resided some time in Vienna, and are well ac- 
quainted with the Hungarian people, I feel a 
pleasure in giving you the names of a few of the 
most distinguished. Besides the chairman 
Count Etienne Szechenyi, to whose patriotism I 
have already alluded, there was Count Louis 
Karolyi, the distinguished president of the Agri- 
cultural Society, several members of the noble 
families of the Esterhazys, the Fest^tics, the 
Nadasdys, the Hunyadys, &c., together with 
your friend, the talented young advocate M. 
Fasner, to whose kind attentions I have been 
deeply indebted. 

On becoming a member of the casino, my 
author's vanity was not a little gratified at finding 
on the table of the reading-room my Sketches of 
Germany and the Germans ; and as a few of my 
intimate friends were aware that to me belonged 



HUNGARIAN PASSPORT. 29 

the paternity of the unclaimed foundling, it 
proved the means of introducing me to several 
gentlemen, who rendered me every kindness 
that friendship and hospitality could dictate. 
But, perhaps, in nothing more did they evince 
this, than in the very liberal manner with which 
they provided me with facilities for making my 
projected tour through Hungary on my return 
from Constantinople. In order to estimate these 
courtesies at their full value, you must remember 
that the public conveniences for a traveller in 
this long-neglected country are ^' few, and far 
between/' A hotel, even on the great road, is 
a rarity, and when you do find one, the accom- 
modations are generally wretched ; while the 
luckless traveller on the cross-roads, or in the 
remote provinces, must think himself fortunate 
when he can find a bed in a cottage, should he be 
unprovided with letters of recommendation. Then 
for a conveyance, he must for the most part be 
contented with his own good steed, who will 
carry him over mountains and fields whenever, 
which is very often the case, a road is not to be 
found. 

My friends, anticipating these petty desagre^ 
menSf furnished me with a species of passport, 
which important little document invested me, 
pro tem.y with all the privileges of a Hungarian 



30 HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE. 

rnagnat. Hence, whenever I presented it, every 
Magyar throughout Hungary and Transylvania 
was obliged, according to established conven- 
tional courtesy, to receive me as he would one 
of his own compatriots, and to provide me with 
every necessary accommodation, such as horses, 
refreshment^ bed, &c. This instrument was 
written in the Hungarian language, which can- 
not claim the slightest affinity with any other 
now spoken in Europe, being evidently of Asiatic 
origin. The few Turkish words, however, furnish 
no rule that its origin is Arabic, as they are 
probably remnants of the Ottoman rule in this 
country ; still, whatever may be its derivation, 
respecting which there are many conflicting 
opinions, the sounds are pleasing, and I under- 
stand it is extremely rich and expressive. 



CHARACTER OF THE HUNGARIANS. 31 



LETTER IV. 

CHARACTER OF THE MAGYARS — THBIR L07E OF LIBERTY 

PATRIOTISM — ADOPTION OF THE HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE 
AS THAT OF THE COUNTRY— LIBERTY OF THE PRESS-— 
LITERATURE— CONSTITUTION OF HUNGARY— -ABJECT CON- 
DITION OF THE SERF — PRIVILEGES OF THE NOBILITY. 

I HAVE already slightly alluded to the variety of 
tribes inhabiting Hungary. To describe tbe cha- 
racteristics of each minutely, would lead me too 
much into detail ; but I must not omit to mention 
a few traits of the lords of the country, the 
Magyars, distinguished from every other by a 
proud, haughty bearing, and a form finely pro- 
portioned, indicating strength and agility, 
although their height seldom exceeds the middle 
size ; the eye is fiery, and the expression of the 
countenance extremely animated; this is much 
improved by the mustachio, which is never parted 
with, from the first dawn of manhood to the 
extreme verge of life. 

The Magyar may also be known not less by his 
customsand manners, than by the form of the towns 



32 CHARACTER OF THE HUNGARfANS. 

and villages he inhabits. He is fond of spacious 
streets, houses, and rooms : the interior, however, 
is never crowded with furniture, for the peasant 
is abundantly contented if he can procure a table 
and a couple of benches, which serve as seats by 
day, and beds by night. True to the Nomadic 
life of his Asiatic ancestors, he is always to be 
found on the vast and fruitful plains of this exten- 
sive country, preferring the rich pastures, where 
his flocks and herds may roam at pleasure, and 
where he himself may indulge in the sports of 
the field, to agriculture. He therefore leaves the 
more laborious employment of raising grain, as 
unworthy a free son of the forest, to the Sclavo- 
nian, German, and Wallachian boors. 

The Arab of the desert never practised the 
virtue of hospitality with more unbounded libe- 
rality than the Magyar. The stranger is ever 
sure to find a cordial welcome, not only in the 
chateau of the magnat, but in the hut of the 
peasant. Their character is also distinguished 
for bravery, sincerity, and open-heartedness, and 
their manners for a sort of straightforward blunt- 
ness, indicating a greater love of truth than 
courtesy. Strongly attached to liberty, they are 
impatient of control, and submit with a bad grace 
to any new laws which may tend to encroach, 
even in the slightest degree, upon their national 



PRESENT STATE OF HUNGARY. 33 

independence ; consequently, the well-ordered 
Austria, with all its complicated government 
machinery, has never been able to impose upon 
them the yoke of passports, and a hundred other 
vexatious ordinances : hence the traveller, who has 
once passed the frontier, may journey throughout 
the whole of Hungary without the slightest in- 
terruption. The Magyar is also so patriotic, 
that he not only tells you, but firmly believes, 
that his country is the freest and greatest in 
the world. 

Without questioning the truth or fallacy of 
this conviction, there cannot be a doubt than au 
entirely new epoch has arrived in the history of 
Hungary, and that she may date her regeneration 
from the day she extorted from her German king 
permission to adopt the Hungarian language as 
that of the country. This measure will not only 
tend to cement the various races of which the 
population is composed, but create a national 
feeling in all classes, — a feeling which it had been 
the constant policy of Austria, from the period 
when the Hungarian sceptre first passed into the 
hand of her monarchs, to repress. To this end 
the great magnats of the land were cajoled by 
courtly flattery, which produced the desired ef- 
fect ; for, until the present moment, never was a 
country more neglected by its landed aristocracy. 

VOL. I. D 



34 ADVANCEMENT OF LITEBATURE, 

Prior to this important concession, the Latin 
and German languages were adopted by the 
government) the diet, and the public tribunals ; 
they were also used in all the national docu- 
ments, and even in commercial transactions. 
Whereas, we now find all the great men of the 
country, men as eminent for their talents as their 
high rank and wealth, engaged in perfecting their 
native language and literature. Authors are en- 
couraged by pecuniary assistance, supplied from 
funds contributed expressly for that purpose, both 
by the Diet and voluntary contributions ; and as 
no law exists to control the press, the Austrian 
censorship not being recognised by the Hunga- 
rian government, we find that a newspaper is 
published at Pest, advocating the most liberal 
principles, sanctioned by authority. Several works 
also have been recently written, alike remarkable 
for truth of argument and energy of diction, de- 
monstrating the necessity of reforming the various 
abuses in the national institutions : and many of 
the magnats being themselves authors, have im- 
parted an additional impetus to literature. With 
these aids, in addition to steam navigation and 
commerce, we may confidently predict, that the 
regeneration of the Hungarian people will gra- 
dually but certainly advance, till their social and 
political institutions, purified of their numerous 



CONDITION OF THE SERF. 35 

abuses, shall be placed upon a basis at once firm 
and secure. 

Indeed, if we contemplate the constitution of 
Hungary as at present established, and examine 
each separate part, how numerous are the reforms 
required, how various the difficulties to be sur- 
mounted, before the country can be pronounced 
in a healthy state. The situation of the peasant, 
and the absurd rights of the nobility, are still, the 
most prominent evils in the social fabric, even 
though much has been already done to ameliorate 
the condition of the serf. It is true, he is no 
longer the absolute property of the lord of the 
soil, yet his situation is scarcely less dependent ; 
for besides the heavy tax imposed on him by his 
seigneur, both in labour and produce, he is 
obliged to support, in conjunction with the citi- 
zen, the heavy impositions of the government, 
military and civil ; while, on the other hand, thd 
privileges of the noble are valuable and exclusi ve« 
He alone can hold possession of landed property, 
he alone is exempt from taxes, custom-house 
duties, and from the necessity of maintaining the 
military by billeting, &c. In short, on his own 
domain, the noble of Hungary is a species of 
independent sovereign. 

Another and still greater mischief of which 
Hungary has to complain, is, that she is overrun 

D 2 



36 PRIVILEGES OF THE NOBILITY. 

with a poor and proud nobility, the bane of every 
country burdened with them. Whatever change 
may have the effect of depriving these of their 
prerogatives, provokes a body of malcontents suf- 
ficiently numerous, and gifted with sufiicient mind, 
to break down the mounds and dikes which dam 
in the tide of revolutionary fury. 

In order to explain the presence of this over- 
whelming proportion of noble families, we must 
refer to the precarious situation of the house of 
Hapsburg during the reign of Maria Theresa, 
who, desirous of encouraging the bravery of the 
Hungarians, gave a patent of nobility to every 
man who had killed his enemy in battle. This 
being hereditary in the whole of the children, we 
find, as a consequence, that almost every second 
man we meet is a noble. Several of the wealthy 
magnats have established the law of primogeni- 
ture in their families, by which means their rank 
and influence are properly supported : but unfor- 
tunately this practice is not general, the estate 
being usually divided in equal proportions among 
the children ; hence the swarms of pauper nobles, 
at once proud, indolent, ignorant, and rapacious, 
whose crimes fearfully swell the catalogue of 
offences against law and morality. 

With respect to the remedy for this evil, va- 
rious conflicting opinions are entertained. It is, 



PRIVILEGES OF THE NOBILITY. 37 

however, intended to confer upon the inferior 
nohility the blessings of a better system of educa- 
tion, with the intention of preparing them for the 
important changes about to be effected. By a 
wise foresight, every amelioration in the intel- 
lectual condition of the great mass of the people 
is proceeded in with the greatest care and caution, 
it being apprehended, that should the veil which 
shrouds their real condition from their view be 
prematurely withdrawn, a sanguinary revolution 
might be the consequence. 

But to return to the privileges of the nobility. 
I understand that a measure will be introduced 
next year to the Diet, for the purpose of 
abrogating their right to be exclusively the 
proprietors of land, and which my friends in- 
formed me will be warmly supported by all the 
enlightened patricians of Hungary. Should 
this pass^into a law, it will have the effect of 
encouraging the rich mercantile classes and fo- 
reigners to purchase landed property, and of 
giving an impetus to agriculture and commerce. 
The education of the inferior nobility and pea- 
sants also, if persisted in, will, it is to be hoped, 
have the effect of rendering the eradication of 
whatever diseases may exist in the, body politic 
practicable, without the interposition of violent 
remedies. - ' 



38 EXCURSION TO THE 

In pointing out the evils in the administration 
of Hungary, 1 must not forget to mention that, 
in common with the other provinces of the Aus- 
trian empire, she is subjected to the tame iso« 
lating system which that jealous government 
invariably establishes in all her dependencies. 
Hence, it is only with the greatest difficulty that 
the natural products of this most fertile country 
can find an outlet ; while, for her domestic con- 
sumption, she is doomed to be inundated with 
the ill-fabricated and high-priced manufactures of 
Austria.* 

The only excursion I made in the vicinity of 
Pest was to the Balaton lake, and the mineral 
bath Fured, denominated, from the peculiar 
nature of its waters, the Pyrmont of Hungary ; 

* Since these volumes have been written, the author is 
happy to say, that tlie Austrian government, in compliance 
with the urgent demands of the Hungarian Diet, and no 
doubt influenced by weighty political considerations, has 
at length consented to form more liberal commercial regu- 
lations. The recent treaty of commerce entered into be- 
tween Austria and Ekigland, so advantageous to both 
nations, cannot fiul, in process of time, to establish between 
the inhabitants a reciprocity of interests, which, while it 
enriches them, will form the most effectual barrier against the 
aggressive policy of Russia, and defeat her ambitious schemes 
upon the independence of thos« beautiful and fertile countries 
watered by the Lower Danube. 



BALATON LAKE. 39 

and aa it is only twenty leagues distant, I would 
recommend every traveller, who may be an 
admirer of beautiful scenery, to visit it. The 
invalid, also, who may be in search of health, will 
there meet with every accommodation, hotels, 
medical attendants, &c. He will likewise have 
the satisfaction of finding that no very heavy 
demands are made upon his purse ; while good 
society, a theatre, and assembly rooms, will effec- 
tually secure him from the intrusion of ennui. 
To this we may add, that being situated on the 
shores of the Balaton lake, in the midst of a rural, 
undulating country^ laid out in promenades, the 
pedestrian may enjoy without fatigue an endless 
variety of the most charming prospects which this 
fine lake and delightful country afford to the ad- 
mirer of natural scenery. 

One of the most popular pilgrimages in the 
environs of the bath is to the romantic Tihany, 
a fairy-like peninsula situated in the Balaton 
lake, containing a pretty village, and a monas- 
tery belonging to a community of monks. 
The whole of their little territory, about three 
leagues in circumference, is completely sur- 
rounded by a chain of rocks, where they have 
their own forests, pastures, corn-fields, and 
vineyards. It was formerly strongly fortified, 
and the remains of the walls, castle, and 



40 EXCURSION TO THE 

watch-tower still exist ; but the most interesting 
objects are the caverns which the monks of the 
middle ages ingeniously constructed, for the 
purpose of protecting themselves and their 
property against the frequent devastations of 
their predatory neighbours the Turks. 

The Balaton lake, termed, on account of its 
length, (upwards of twenty leagues,) the Sea of 
Hungary, deserves a visit from the traveller, 
were it for nothing else than to feast upon the 
rare and delicious fish called the yb^a^, (a species 
of perca ludoperca^) which, I believe, is only 
found in this lake, and frequently weighs as much 
as twenty pounds. The banks are not more in- 
teresting to the tourist than the geologist ; for on 
the northern side, towards Keszthely, we find an 
isolated rock, composed of stupendous masses of 
basalt, evidently an extinct volcano ; which, from 
the singularity of its situation in the midst of a 
plain, seems as if it had fallen from the heavens, 
since the neighbouring rocks, composed of lime- 
stone, present a continuous range. 

The sand found on the shore is principally 
composed of iron ore and soda ; this explains the 
circumstance of the water being slightly impreg- 
nated with mineral ; and singular enough, not- 
withstanding the lake is usually of a crystal 
clearness, yet it invariably becomes turbid on the 



BALATON LAKE. 41 

approach of a storm. It is also said to ebb and 
flow ; and though I did not remain long enough 
in its vicinity to determine the fact by personal 
observation, yet I certainly noticed that the water 
at one time became singularly agitated and in- 
creased in volume, even when there was not the 
slightest wind that could produce such an effect. 

In addition to the excellent fish I have already 
mentioned, the cyprinus culprattis and clupea 
alhumus are found here : in appearance they are 
not unlike our sword-fish, and their visits peri- 
odical, like the herring ; they are taken in vast 
quantities, and when potted, or dried, form an 
extensive article of commerce, being much prized 
for their fine flavour. The helix vivi para are 
also inhabitants of this lake, and cray-fish are 
taken in such numbers at the mouth of the Szala, 
as to afford a plentiful supply to all the restau- 
rants of Vienna and Pest, where they are much 
valued by the fastidious gourmands of these 
wealthy capitals. 

In some parts of the lake the banks are com- 
posed of curious fossil shells, among which there 
is one called by the peasants '* goats'-feet." This 
appellation owes its origin to an old legend of 
Hungary^ to the effect that her great king and 
patron^ St. Stephen, at one time a fugitive, 
wandered along the banks of the lake ; and being 



42 EXCURSION TO THE BALATON LAKE. 

eDtirely destitute of resources, applied for hos- 
pitality to a rich landed proprietor in the vicinity, 
who inhumanly drove him from his door. The 
saint, violently incensed, cursed the churlish land- 
holder, and all that belonged to him ; when im- 
mediately pestilence swept away his cattle, fire 
consumed his houses, disease destroyed his fa- 
mily, and a dreadful hurricane hurled his nume- 
rous flocks of goats from the steep sides of the 
rocks into the lake : and that this wonderful 
l^end should not want confirmation, their petri- 
fied hoofs are constantly being thrown up in the 
form of shells ! 



VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 43 



LETTER V. 

LBATB PBST FOR OALATZ^THE PANNONIA STEAM-BOAT — PAS- 

8BN6BRS -COUNT ESTBRHAZT BUFFALOES — ASPECT OF 

THB COUNTRY -^-PBTBBWABDBINy THB GIBRALTAR OF THE 
DANDBB — MILITARY CORDON OF AUSTRIA — FLOURISHING 
STATB OF THB COLONY — COSTUME OF THB PBOPLlb 

The directors of the steam navigation having 
decided on despatching a new steam-boat down 
the Danube to Galatz, for the purpose of ascer- 
taining how far it was practicable, from the great 
height the water had attained, to cross the dan- 
gerous cataract called the Iron Gate, I resolved 
to make one of her passengers on the somewhat 
hazardous expedition ; for though various works 
are in progress to facilitate this object, yet steam 
navigation had not hitherto been attempted on 
that part of the river. 

The Pannonia is a pretty little flat-bottomed 
boat, of thirty-six horse power ; its form and inte- 
rior arrangements being similar to those running 
between London and Gravesend. She is com- 
manded by a well-behaved Venetian, Giovanni 



44 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

Clician. The accommodation was excellent, so 
far as regarded a ladies' cabin, and a large saloon 
fiimished with divans, the whole kept remarkably 
clean ; but there being no regular berths, the 
sofas performed the duty of beds, and the tra- 
veller is much inconvenienced while performing 
his toilet. The same censure is also applicable 
to this boat as to the Nador^ with respect to 
refreshments, which were considered by the pas- 
sengers as too high-priced for a country where 
provisions may be purchased at a lower rate than 
in any other part of Europe. The stranger^ 
however, has the advantage of being able to re- 
sort to a fixed tariff, in which the price of every 
article has been regulated by the directors of the 
steam navigation company. 

We had but few passengers on board, and 
these were principally Hungarian noblemen on 
their way to the fashionable bath M ehadia^ in the 
Banate. I was much pleased to find among them 
my old friend Count Francis Esterhazy ; there 
were also several Austrian dragoon ofiicers, pro- 
ceeding to join their regiments in lower Hungary. 
I was equally surprised and gratified on discover- 
ing one of them to be an Englishman, Lieutenant 
Isaacson; from whom I learned that several of our 
countrymen since the peace had entered the Aus- 
trian army as cadets, where it appears their ser- 



PEST TO GALATZ. 45 

vices are highly prized, and meet with every 
encouragement. 

The scenery, after leaving Pest, was neither 
interesting nor striking, consisting principally of 
immense plains, upon which herds of cattle, in- 
cluding great numbers of buffaloes, were feeding, 
apparently to their hearts' content, the herbage 
being most luxuriant. I cannot but think that 
the latter would be an acquisition to the farmer 
in England, and would find themselves quite at 
home while wallowing in the fens of Lincolnshire. 
Count Esterhazy, himself a great landed pro- 
prietor, informed me their flesh, while young, was 
quite equal to the best veal, and their milk infi- 
nitely richer than that of the cow : besides, from 
their great strength, they would be found very 
serviceable in performing agricultural labours. 

Water-mills, islands covered with foliage, a few 
straggling villages of the peasants, together with 
the primitive vessels of the Danube boatmen, lent 
their aid in giving some variety to the landscape ; 
while numerous flocks of wild fowl rent the air 
with their piercing cries, and the very eagles, 
unaccustomed to being disturbed by man in 
this half-deserted country, approached our vessel 
almost within pistol-shot. 

At Apatin, the Danube forms a considerable 
curve ; when, after swelling into a foaming surge, 



46 PETERWARDEIN. 

and being increased by the accession of the Drave, 
the turbulent stream , with a loud roar, bore us 
quickly forward to Erdod. This little town is 
supposed to be built on the spot where the ancient 
Teutoburgum once stood, on account of the num- 
ber of Roman antiquities found in the neigh- 
bourhood. It is pleasantly situated on a small 
peninsula of hills covered with vineyards, and 
rendered still more picturesque by a venerable 
castle belonging to the family of the Counts 
Palffy. Here also commences the extensive pro- 
vince of Sclavonia. Shortly after passing another 
ruin, called Scharengrad, a range of fine pictu- 
resque hills relieves the plain from its almost 
unvaryinguniformity, which continued improving 
in beauty till we arrived at Beges, a town belong- 
ing to Count Brunswick, a short distance from 
Peterwardein, the Gibraltar of the Danube, where 
we cast anchor for the night. 

Peterwardein, or, as the Hungarians call it, 
Petervara-Varadin, is said to have been honoured 
by being the birth-place of the famous Peter the 
Hermit, of crusade-preaching • memory. The 
fortress, from being situated on an isolated hill, 
is most formidable as a military position, sweep- 
ing every approach by land or water : it is also 
so extensive, as to be capable of receiving a 
garrison of ten thousand men. The town is 



AUSTRIAN MILITARY CORDON. 47 

united with Neusatz, on the opposite bank, by a 
well-constructed bridge of boats, containing to- 
gether a population of about twenty thousand. 
Peterwardein is one of the most important 
stations of the military cordon established by 
Austria to protect her provinces in this part of 
the empire from the predatory incursions of the 
Turks, and the entrance of the plague. This 
admirable cordon extends from the Bocca di 
Cattaroy in Lower Dalmatia on the Adriatic, to 
the Bukovina on the frontiers of Poland ; tra- 
versing the provinces of Croatia, Sclavonia, 
Hungary, and Transylvania: being a distance 
of four hundred and fifty-five leagues, inhabited 
by a population of nearly one million two 
hundred thousand, who hold their lands, rights, 
and privileges on the express condition of per- 
forming military service in defence of the fron- 
tiers. To this every man is liable, from the 
age of eighteen to fifty ; after which time, for 
the next ten years, they have to perform the 
duties usually entrusted to superannuated sol- 
diers. 

The whole of the cordon ndlitaire contains 
seventeen regiments of infantry, one of hussars, 
and a battalion of marines, who are employed 
in the armed boats on the rivers. Each regi- 
ment, in time of peace, consists only of two 



48 AUSTRIAN MILITARY CORDON. 

battalions, or twelve companies, the half of which 
(five thousand) are constantly occupied in guard- 
ing the frontiers ; but when the plague makes its 
appearance in the Turkish provinces, their num- 
bers are increased to seven or even ten thousand : 
and in cases of emergency, such as when an 
invading army threatens to cross the frontiers, 
they can bring into the field upwards of thirty- 
three thousand well- disciplined troops. Each 
regiment elects' its own colonel, who unites with 
his military authority that of a civil magistrate. 
Every two regiments are commanded by a bri- 
gadier-general ; and every two brigades by 
what the Austrians term a general commando^ 
of whom there are four, stationed in various dis- 
tricts on the line of frontier, and acting under the 
immediate orders of the minister of war at 
Vienna. 

Along the whole line a range of guard-houses 
has been erected, sufficiently near to communi- 
cate with each other : and when a river inter- 
venes, they are built on pontoons. Those in the 
mountain districts, being hewn out of the rock, 
are most formidable ; and as they are frequently 
hid from observation by embankments, or shaded 
by foliage, they become a fatal ambuscade 
against an invading army. Each of these guard- 
houses is sufficiently large to contain twelve 



AUSTRIAN MILITARY CORDON. 49 

men ; this number, however, varies according 
to circumstances, as we find them only guarded 
at present by four men and a sentinel. 

Behind this chain are the guard-houses of the 
ofl5cers, furnished with alarm-bells, &c. ; by 
which means, in cases of extreme danger, the in- 
habitants of the whole line of this immense fron- 
tier can be assembled under arms in less than 
four hours. No traveller is permitted to cross 
the line without applying to the nearest military 
station; and during the prevalence of the 
plague, or in time of war, he is liable to be 
shot by the nearest sentinel, if he does not 
immediately reply to the challenge, by standing 
still, and answering the customary interrogato- 
ries. 

This very interesting district, which only 
twenty years since was regarded by the Austrian 
officers sent thither as a sort of transportation, 
presents at the present day so improved an 
aspect, that the traveller never fails to con- 
gratulate himself on entering the country in- 
cluded in the military cordon ; where he finds 
not only some of the best kept roads in the 
Austrian empire, but good inns. The towns 

9 

and villages are also better built, and frequently 
adorned with public promenades for the amuse- 
ment of the people, whom he sees on Sundays and 

VOL. I. E 



50 AUSTRIAN MILITARY CORDON. 

holidays dressed in their finery, and dancing to 
the merry sounds of the violin and the bagpipe. 
The agricultural fields of these military peasants, 
when contrasted with those of the poor degraded 
serfs, their neighbours, also exhibit, in their 
neatness and high degree of cultivation, the in- 
dustry of the inhabitants, and the real interest 
they have in the soil ; nor are their little pictu- 
resque cottages, surrounded by blooming gar- 
dens, less indicative of the comfort and indepen- 
dence they enjoy ; for here neither the exacting 
hand of a rapacious seigneur, nor of a heartless 
tax-gatherer, is felt to rob the poor peasant of the 
produce of his labour. In short, the whole of 
the districts included in the military cordon, 
whether situated in the vicinity of the^ wild 
hordes inhabiting the countries of Lower Dal- 
matia, or the Buckowina adjoining Russo-Bessa- 
rabia, present a picture of civilisation^ prosperity, 
and contentment, cheering to the heart of every 
philanthropic traveller who may visit them. 

These military peasants live in a state of the 
most patriarchal simplicity; for we often find 
several generations, amounting even to seventy 
persons, residing amicably beneath the same 
roof. In some instances, families united by con- 
sanguinity form themselves into communities, 
devote their common labour to the cultivation of 



AUSTRIAN MILITARY CORDON. 51 

the soil, and divide the produce in equal shares ; 
they also generally elect the man, whose conduct 
is the most exemplary, as a sort of chief, who, in 
such domestic dissensions as may arise between 
them, fulfils the office of judge. 

Whenever these communities are established, 
each provides its own soldiers from the common 
fund, with uniforms and rations while performing 
military duty, which is by no means severe, as 
it only occupies one-third of their time, the re- 
mainder being reserved for agricultural labour, 
&c. 

Although the military language of the in- 
habitants of these military colonies is German, 
yet they are, with few exceptions, Sclavoniana, 
Wallachians, and Hungarians, intermingled 
with Greeks, Germans, Jews, and Gipsies, each 
retaining their peculiar costume and language. 
Notwithstanding this diversity of people, the 
difference in their customs, manners, and re- 
ligion ; broils and disputes, owing to the strict 
subordination preserved among them by their 
chiefs, are rarely heard of, and crime in its darker 
shades, I was informed from good authority, is 
nearly unknown. This results from the circum- 
stance, that poverty and idleness, those fruitful 
sources of evil, here can never intrude ; for every 
man must perform his military duties, and pursue 

E 2 



62 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

hi» individual occupation, whether as agricultu- 
rist, artisan, manufacturer, &c. ; while each se- 
parate community makes ample provision for the 
aged and helpless of its members. 

Human nature could scarcely have devised a 
more efficient barrier for the protection of an 
extensive empire like Austria than those military 
colonies^ as they are at once effectual to their 
end, and little or no expense to the government. 
Every man being a soldier, and at the same 
time a proprietor of land, patriotism and interest 
combine to inspire him with a degree of courage 
and determination to defend his father-land, un- 
known to the mere mercenary, who enters the 
service of his country solely with the view of 
earning a daily pittance. Above all, in despotic 
countries, what military enthusiasm can be ex- 
pected from the poor peasant who is torn from 
his home, and compelled to enter the ranks ? 
Thus Austria has, at the present day, the double 
satisfaction of seeing countries, that were for- 
merly a desert, inhabited by a prosperous, a 
happy people, and her widely extended frontier 
guarded by men capable of arresting even the 
serious invasion of an enemy, at least till she 
would be able to despatch an adequate force to 
their support. 

In that part of the military banate of Hun- 



VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 53 

gary and Selavonia through which we now 
travelled, the inhabitants having been exposed 
for centuries to the inroads of their predatory 
neighbours, the Turks and Tartars, scarcely ever 
leave home, on any occasion, without being 
well armed ; and not unfrequently we see the 
women, Amazon-like, with a brace of pistols 
in their girdles, to say nothing of the poniard, 
which they never part with. The warlike 
appearance of the men imparted quite a novel 
aspect to the landscape, as we beheld them from 
the deck of our steamer, enveloped in the folds 
of their scarlet capuchins and mantles, striding 
through the deep valleys, or climbing up the 
steep mountains, with their long guns slung 
across the shoulder. 



54 CAKLOWITZ. 



LETTER VI. 

CARLOWITZ — BIVEB THEISS INSALUBRITY OF ITS BANKS — 

SBMLIN — BELGBADE — FOBTIFICATIONS — PBINCIPALITY OF 

SERVIA FERTILITY OF THE COUNTBY — VAST HEBDS OF 

SWINE — PBINCE MILOSCH — HIS GOVERNMENT SIMPLICITY 

OF THE LAWS COSTUME OF THE SERVIANS AND SCLAVO- 

NIANS — CASTLE OF SEMENDRIA — TURKISH FORTIFICATIONS 

SUBLIME SCENEBY OF THE DANUBE — CASTLE OF GOLU- 

BACS ^SINOULAB POISONOUS FLY — THEIB DREADFUL RA- 
VAGES. 

After leaving Peterwardein, the right bank of 
the river presented a dreary plain of sand, the 
effect of repeated inundations, till we came to 
Carlowitz, one of the free military towns included 
in the cordon. Its situation, at the foot of a 
group of vine-clad hills, is most picturesque : nor 
is this the only advantage derived from these 
luxuriant vineyards, for the wine they produce 
is some of the best in Hungary ; and the liqueur 
Absynthe, which is made here in large quan- 
tities, is equally celebrated. 

The only town worth mentioning between Car- 
lowitz and Semlin is Slankamen, the Ritium of 



VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 55 

the Romans. Here the Theiss, one of the most 
important rivers of Hungary, when viewed in 
connexion with commerce, forms a junction with 
the Danube, after having traversed an immense 
tract of that country, and also of Transylvania* 
The banks of this river are, with few exceptions, 
considered unhealthy, partly owing to the slug- 
gish pace at which the stream travels, and partly 
to the inundations, which, on retiring, leave ex- 
tensive marshes; but though sufficiently inju- 
rious to the health of man, the miasma does not 
appear to have the same effect upon that of the 
finny tribe, who are found here in abundance 
unequalled by any other European river. At its 
mouth I saw, for the first time, the Danube fleet, 
a small flotilla of gunboats ; the bloated^ pallid 
countenances of the marines who manned them, 
sadly evidenced the insalubrity of the station. 

We now steered our course between nume- 
rous small islands to Semlin, advantageously situ- 
ated a short distance from Belgrade, where the 
Save runs into the Danube, after having formed 
the frontier between Hungary and the Turkish 
province of Servia. At Semlin we were detained 
four hours, before the military commander could 
find leisure to sign our passports. Did this ori- 
ginate from culpable inattention to the duties of 
his office? Or is the Austrian government soli- 



56 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

citous to throw every obstacle in the way of the 
steam navigation of the Danube ? We here took 
in a supply of coal, which, the English engineer 
informed me, was of a quality equal to any we 
have in England. 

The once-celebrated fortress of Belgrade, so 
long the object of contention between the Hunga- 
rians and the Osmanlis, now presents no sterner 
aspect than a picturesque ruin ; but the style of 
buildings in the town, and the numerous minarets 
of the mosques, are so completely Eastern, that the 
attention of the European traveller is forcibly 
aiTested. The citadel, erected on a bold pro- 
montory' between the junction of the Save and 
the Danube, is, in a military point of view, most 
formidable ; and if properly repaired and garri- 
soned, together with the fortifications on the low 
ground at the junction of the rivers, sweeping, 
as they do, every approach by land or water, they 
might defy the strongest efforts of an enemy^ 
Here I first observed a few boats with sails; 
which proved that this people, so little advanced 
in civilisation, were yet better navigators than 
any I had hitherto seen on the Danube. 

The villages on the Servian side of the river 
were extremely miserable, the huts appearing 
unworthy of any better inhabitants^han quad- 
rupeds. The country, however, seemed most 



B£LGRADC. 57 

fertile, being beautifully variegated with noble 
trees, blooming corn-fields, pastures, and vine- 
yards : indeed such is its fecundity, I was assured 
by one of our passengers, a landed proprietor of 
Servia, that the country is capable of nourishing 
a population of five millions ; whereas, at pre- 
sent, it contains no more than about half a 
million. In fact, these provinces are still in a 
most primitive state, and land may be purchased 
at nearly as little cost as in the back settlements 
of North America. The inhabitants devote the 
soil, principally, to the maintenance of vast 
herds of swine, which prove very profitable ; for 
a peasant, at first possessed of merely a dozen, 
finds himself, in consequence of their rapid mul- 
tiplication, in a short time the master of hun- 
dreds ; and having the privilege of turning them 
into the extensive forests which abound in Servia, 
their food costs nothing. For a market he re- 
sorts to Hungary, where he ever finds a ready 
sale ; from whence they are transported into 
Austria, being highly valued by the accom- 
plished gourmands of Vienna, on account of their 
exquisite flavour. 

The Hungarian side of the Danube now pre- 
sented one vast plain covered with immense flocks 
of sheep, herds of cattle, horses, &c., attended 



58 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

by most patriarchal-looking shepherds. But to 
return to Turkish Servia : — This interesting 
country is fast advancing in civilisation under the 
sway of Prince Milosch, who, though originally 
an uneducated peasant, is yet worthy, by his 
talents and virtues, of the high station to which 
fate has advanced him. He has given a constitu- 
tion to his people, left trade unfettered by restric- 
tions, his ports on the Danube are open to ships 
of every nation, and foreigners are encouraged to 
settle in the country for the purpose of assisting 
to civilise the natives. Another benefit result- 
ing from his administration is the safety with 
which a traveller may now journey through his 
dominions ; whereas, only a few years since, the 
roads were infested by bands of robbers. His 
system of police is at once simple and efficacious: 
for whenever a robbery or murder is committed, 
the inhabitants of the nearest village or town are 
made responsible for the deed, and must either 
find the delinquent, or pay a considerable fine. 

Another regulation of the law is, that should 
any article of value be found on the highway, it 
must be left on the spot where it was discovered ; 
the presumption being, that the owner will return 
and claim his property. However singular this 
method of governing may appear to more civilised 



PRINCE MILOSCH. 59 

nations, yet in this it has certainly the effect 
of making the people, who are not yet emerged 
from primitive barbarism, honest. 

The dress of the Servian peasantry is not un- 
picturesque, consisting of a red cap, a linen tunic 
descending below the knees, confined by a leather 
belt embroidered with silk or wool ; over this is 
worn a drab-coloured jacket with red facings : 
they no longer carry arms, but have instead a long 
knife stuck in the girdle. The women who, from 
their small Grecian features and well-formed feet 
and ankles, deserve the appellation of pretty, 
were also becomingly attired. They did not 
appear confined to any particular head-dress: 
some wore a shawl ; others a turban ; but the bet- 
ter classes a red Grecian cap, confined by a band 
of plaited silk, the same colour as their hair. 

The peasantry on the Hungarian side of the 
Danube, a Sclavonian race, had adopted a differ- 
ent costume : the men wore for a head-dress 
a cap made of curled wool, somewhat resem- 
bling in appearance a mop without a handle; 
and the women, whose attire was bizarre enough, 
were clothed in a many-coloured woollen petti- 
coat, which descended to the knee, and was then 
finished with a broad plaited fringe that came 
down to the ankle. Do not suppose that these 
plaits were connected with each other ; on the 



60 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

contrary, each hung like a separate pendant ; 
and when the fair creature stepped, or a gust of 
wind set the rattling fringe in motion, the effect 
was very ludicrous ; and, certainly, of all the 
feminine accoutrements it was ever my lot to 
behold in Europe, these were the most unique. 
The women of both countries were generally 
employed in spinning from the distaff; and I fre- 
quently saw them thus occupied, and at the same 
time carrying a pail of milk on the head, and an 
infant slung behind in a basket. 

The scenery on the Servian side of the river 
continued to improve, being finely wooded ; 
while that of the Hungarian had nothing to relieve 

the monotony, except a continued range of guard- 
houses belonging to the military cordon to which 
I have before alluded. The object that next 
arrested my attention, was the town and castle of 
Semendria. The castle is a most singular look- 
ing building, of a triangular form, consisting of 
twenty-seven towers joined together by curtains 
apparently of solid masonry. No doubt, a fort 
of this description is extremely formidable when 
defended by Turks, owing to their known obsti- 
nacy when fighting behind stone walls ; but it 
does not come within the pale of what may be 
called a regular fortification of the present day. 
After descending the river a little further, we 



COSTUME OF THE PEASANTS. 61 

came to a succession of these Turkish fortiHcations, 
all more or less in a dilapidated state. 

A short distance below Palanka, the Hunga- 
rian mountains in the Upper Banate approached 
nearly in conjunction with those of Servia on 
the opposite bank, and gradually contracting 
the bed of the river, from about two English 
miles in breadth to little more than a hundred 
paces, converted the majestic stream into a tem- 
pestuous torrent. The impetuosity of the river 
continued to increase in violence, till we came 
to the famous rock called Babakaly, rising out 
of the centre of the river. Here the roaring 
of the waters as they lashed its flinty sides, the 
romantic ruins perched on the summits of the 
rocks, the multitude of eagles hovering around, 
and the wild character of the country, combined 
to form a scene of singular beauty and grandeur, 
far superior to any even the most sublime of the 
Upper Danube. 

During the wars between the Austrians and 
Turks, this was the most formidable pass of the 
river ; here the latter erected the fortified castle 
of Golubacs, perched on the summit of a stupen- 
dous rock ; now only remarkable as a picturesque 
ruin, and for the singularity of its architecture, 
with its nine towers, some square, others round 
or triangular. 



62 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

Near this place we found a range of caverns, 
famous for producing the poisonous fly, too well 
known in Servia and Hungary under the name of 
the Golubacser fly. These singular and venom- 
ous insects, somewhat resembling musquitoes, 
generally make their appearance, during the first 
great heat of summer, in such numbers as to seem 
like vast volumes of smoke ; their attacks are 
always directed against every description of quad- 
ruped, and so potent is the poison they commu- 
nicate, that even an ox is unable to withstand its 
influence, for he always expires in less than two 
hours. This results, not so much from the viru- 
lence of the poison, as that every vulnerable part 
is simultaneously covered with these most de- 
structive insects ; when the wretched animals, 
frenzied with pain, rush wild through the fields 
till death puts a period to their sufierings, or they 
accelerate dissolution by plunging headlong into 
the rivers. 

The shepherds of these countries, taught by 
experience the time of their approach, previously 
anoint every part of their flocks and herds, un- 
protected by nature, with a strong decoction of 
wormwood ; to which, it appears, these flies have 
a great antipathy. In addition to this, the 
shepherds keep immense fires constantly blazing ; 
around which the poor animals, aware of their 



SINGULAR POISONOUS FLY. 63 

danger^ tremblingly and patiently congregate. 
Kind nature has, however, mercifully ordained 
that the existence of these destructive insects 
shall be most ephemeral ; for the slightest varia* 
tion in the weather is sufficient to destroy the 
whole swarm ; hence they seldom live beyond a 
few days. Indeed their very production seems 
to depend upon the state of the weather : for in 
those summers when the thermometer continues 
low, they never make their appearance, except 
in diminished numbers ; whereas, when great 
heat and drought prevail during the whole of 
that season, they have been known to swarm 
two or even three times, although even then 
their existence is always extremely brief. 

Their ravages are principally confined to the 
surrounding countries of Servia and the Hunga- 
rian Banate : but Count Esterhazy informed me 
that on some occasions they (or at least a similar 
species of fly) have extended their flight as far as 
his estates in the neighbourhood of Presburg, 
where their attacks were fatal to numbers of his 
cattle. The peasants for this, as for every other 
phenomenon, have resorted to a miracle for expla- 
nation ; and tell us that in these caverns the 
renowned champion St. George killed the dra- 
gon, whose decomposed remains have continued 
to generate these insects down to the present day. 



64 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

The probable supposition however is, that when 
the Danube rises, which it always does in the 
early part of summer, the caverns are flooded, and 
the water remaining in them becomes putrid, 
and produces, during the heat of summer, this 
most noxious fly. Under this impression, the 
inhabitants of the country, many years since, 
closed up the mouths of the caverns with stone 
walls, for the purpose of preventing their egress ; 
but the expedient availed nothing, and the rush- 
ing of the waters against the sides of the rocks, 
in process of time, destroyed the useless defence : 
so that it must be evident, either that the insects 
are not generated here, or that the caverns have 
subterraneous communications with some other 
outlets at present unknown. 



(55 



LETTER VIT. 

WHIRLPOOLS OF THE DANUBE — VETERANI CAVERN — ROMAN 
ANTIQUITIES — MILANOVA— PASSPORTS— MEHADIA MINERAL 
BATH EFFICACY OF THE WATERS BEAUTY OF THE SUR- 
ROUNDING COUNTRY — NEU-ORSOVA — DETENTION OF THE 
STEAM-BOAT BY THE PACHA — VISIT TO THE PACHAi — AUS- 
TRIAN TIM IDITY — CATARACT OF THE DANUBE — PANNONIA 
THE FIRST STEAM-BOAT THAT PASSED IT — WILD CHARACTER 
OF THE SCENERY — PRINCIPALITY OF WALLACHI A — KLADOVA 
—TURKISH PILOTS. 

In my last letter I informed you of our arrival at 
GolubacSy and I felt not a little pleased to learn 
that our bark was now about to glide through 
some of the most beautiful scenery of the Danube. 
The mountains increased in altitude as we ad- 
vanced, and the curves in the river formed a suc- 
cession of the most charming lakes, till we came 
to the whirlpool called Tachtalia, an object of 
great terror to the navigators ; and not without 
some reason, for many a vessel has here sunk to 
rise no more : even so lately as the year 1833, 
we were informed that five were wrecked. 

This danger arises from the circumstance that 

VOL. I. F 



66 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

the bed of the river is here entirely formed of 
isolated masses of perpendicular rocks, between 
which it is necessary for the pilot to steer with 
great caution, but more particularly when the 
water is shallow; for should a vessel deviate 
from the right channel, it runs the risk of being 
carried away by the impetuous violence of the 
stream, and dashed to pieces by the foaming 
surge, as it rebounds from rock to rock. The 
diflSculties in the navigation have, however, been 
considerably lessened within these few years by 
the judicious efforts of the directors of the steam 
navigation on the Danube, who have caused the 
most dangerous rocks to be blasted ; so that at 
present the only hazard arises from the negli- 
gence of the captain, who may employ an inex- 
perienced pilot. 

We journeyed on through a continuation of 
whirlpools, surrounded by scenery of a similar 
character to that I have already described, till we 
came to the cavern Piscabora, famous for having 
been so bravely defended by the gallant Austrian 
general, M. Veterani, against the Turks in 1692; 
since which time it has borne his name. This 
excavation, entirely the work of nature, is capable 
of containing from six to seven hundred men, in- 
dependently of an adjoining cavern well adapted 
to serve as a powder magazine ; and from its situa- 



ROMAN ANTIQUITIES. 67 

tion in the rocks, is not ^nly impregnable, but 
completely commands the river. Its importance 
as a military position seems to have been disco- 
vered by the Romans, for we find the remains of an 
inscription to that effect in its vicinity : indeed we 
are everywhere reminded, in the countries near 
this part of the Danube, of the dominion of the 
Roman empire. On the Servian side there are 
the remains of the road cut by Trajan along the 
sides of the rock, now used by the peasants as a 
footpath ; together with the tablet erected to 
immortalise the conquest of Dacia by the same 
emperor. It bears the form of a scroll, supported 
by winged genii, having on each side a dolphin, 
and in the centre the Roman eagle ; but in con- 
sequence of the Danube boatmen, who have been 
accustomed to stop here with their vessels and 
kindle fires, it has been deplorably mutilated ; 
so that the only portion of the inscription now 
visible is the two first lines, 

IMP. C>ES. Dt NERVi€. FILIUS NERVA TRAJANUS. 
OERM. PONT. (MAX) IMUS. . . . 

A few miles further, a pretty modern village, 
built by Prince Milosch and called Milanova, 
after his son Mila, gladdens the eye of the tra- 
veller ; and at Alt Orsova, the last town in Hun- 
gary, we were again obliged to remain four hours, 
while the Austrian authorities affixed their signa- 

F 2 



68 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

tures to our passports, whereas a quarter of an 
hour would have been amply sufficient for the 
purpose. Here I lost the society of my venerable 
and respected friend, Count Esterhazy, who was 
proceeding to the baths of Mehadia, one of the 
most amiable and excellent men I ever travelled 
with, and whose memory, even if I had no other 
reasons, would be sufficient to induce me ever to 
respect Hungary and the Hungarians. 

This pretty bath, which I visited some years 
since, has become, partly in consequence of the 
steam navigation on the Danube, (from whence it 
is distant only a few leagues,) and partly from the 
inherent efficacy of the waters, extremely popular. 
They were known to the Romans, who called 
them — from the high temperature of the water, 
exceeding forty-seven degrees of Reaumur, and 
also probably from the copiousness of the supply 
exceeding that of any other in Europe, " Ther- 
mae Herculis ad aquas." 

There are twenty-two springs, nine of which 
are at present in use ; and if we may believe the 
accounts of their healing powers, they effect a 
cure in most chronic cases of scrofula, cutaneous 
diseases, rheumatism, gout, contractions of the 
limbs, coD^umption of the lungs, diseases of the 
eyes, &c. Nor do their sanative qualities con- 
stitute the only attraction of these baths, for the 



NEU-ORSOVA. 69 

siirroundiDg country is beautiful, abounding with 
romantic valleys and lofty hills. In addition to 
this, the climate is so mild, that we find the fig, and 
other trees peculiar to southern climes, growing 
wild in the woods ; and at the same time so genial, 
that the most delicate invalid may remain exposed 
to the air until a very late hour in the evening. 
Promenades are laid out with shady alleys in the 
vicinity, and several fine hotels have been recently 
constructed and fitted up with every accommoda- 
tion for the visiters, who may here indulge in all the 
moderate luxuries of life for about a dollar a day ! 
Upon approaching the Turkish fortress Neu- 
Orsova, an officer belonging to the garrison hailed 
the vessel, and informed us that^ unless we were 
provided with a firman, we could not pass. This 
intelligence was anything but agreeable, for nei- 
ther the captain nor any of the passengers pos 
sessed the desired document. The matter was 
long debated between the captain of the steam- 
boat and several Austrian ofiicers, passengers ; 
and at length it was agreed that we should return 
to Alt-Orsova till the firman could be procured. 
I found, however, that the captain, a very spirited 
man, was inclined to go forward, on the ground 
that permission had been already generally ac- 
corded for the free navigation of the Danube ; I 
therefore proposed to the Austrian major that we 



70 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

should proceed together to the fortress, and learn 
from the Pacha himself the cause of our deten- 
tion. After long debating the matter, pro and 
coUy like a true German, he at length consented ; 
and accordingly, attended by an officer of the sana- 
tory guard, we set off for the fortress, a miserable 
half-ruined building. 

We were immediately introduced to the Pacha, 
a fair-complexioned fine-looking man, about forty 
years of age, with a most patriarchal beard ; he 
was dressed in the Turkish uniform, a dark blue 
frock coat, light blue pantaloons, and a red cloth 
cap with a very large blue silk tassel. He re- 
ceived us most affably, and his manners would 
have done no discredit to a courtier of St. James's. 
Previous to commencing our negociation, coffee 
was brought in, which, as is invariably the case in 
Turkey, was excellent, and served in a style of 
much elegance. The tray was covered with an 
embroidered napkin, edged with silver fringe ; and 
the cups, of the finest Chinese porcelain, rested 
upon silver stands. 

The Austrian officer, who spoke the Turkish 
language fluently, introduced me to the Pacha. 
The worthy Turk, upon learning that I was an 
Englishman, received me with the most marked 
courtesy ; and when we had taken coffee and 
smoked our tchibouques, we related the object of 



AUSTRIAN TIMIDITY. 71 

our luission, to which he listened with the most 
polite attention. After deliberating a few minutes 
with his officers, he replied, that he had received 
instructions from his government not to permit 
any foreign vessel to pass down the Danube with- 
out a firman ; ^^ but/' continued he, smiling, '^ my 
orders do not include a mandate to fire, in case 
you choose to proceed on your own responsibility. 
In that event, however, I shall send an express 
to my superior officer, the Governor Pacha of 
Widdin." We then made our conge and departed. 

Upon detailing the particulars of our interview 
to the remainder of the passengers, they with one 
consent announced their intention of quitting the 
boat. ^^ What !" said the well-trained Austrians, 
" journey on in open defiance of established autho- 
rity ? Impossible. Suppose the Pacha should 
take it into his head that sending a few bullets at 
ours was a duty incumbent upon him, are we to 
sacrifice our lives for a foolish firman ? No. 
Proceed, captain, if you will ; but we must, 
though very reluctantly, bid you adieu ;** and 
they instantly quitted the vessel, leaving me the 
honour of being the first traveller who had jour- 
neyed down the whole of the lower Danube in a 
steam -boat from Vienna to the Black Sea. 

After proceeding a little further, we came to 
the famous cataract of the Danube, called by the 



72 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

Turks Demirkapi, or the iron gate, so termed 
because it was formerly deemed impassable; but 
now, in consequence of the height the river had 
attained, we crossed this formidable pass without 
•nuch difficulty. Thus our steam-vessel was the 
first which had accomplished this somewhat 
perilous feat, the directors of the steam naviga- 
gation company having hitherto provided car- 
riages for the conveyance of their passengers by 
land over this part of the route. To obviate this 
inconvenience, it is proposed to cut a canal on 
the Servian side, the company preferring this 
alternative to that of deepening the bed of the 
river, which would be a most expensive under- 
taking. Indeed, upon surveying the ground 
through which it is intended to pass, we cannot 
avoid coming to the conclusion that a canal had 
formerly existed there, most probably the work 
of the Romans ; which, on their expulsion from 
the country, fell into disuse, and in process of 
time became filled up. 

The Demirkapi cataract, unquestionably the 
most sublime part of the Danube from its source 
in the Black Forest of Germany to the Euxine, 
is considerably heightened in picturesque efiect 
by tlie wild character of the surrounding country. 
Here the majestic river, pent up in a narrow 
channel, rushes between stupendous rocks down 



DEMIRKAPI CATARACT, 73 

the descent >¥ith the rapidity of lightning, and 
with a crash so tremendous as to overpower every 
other sound ; while the foaming surge, as it broke 
with violence over the deck, and lashed the sides 
of our vessel, gave to the river the appearance 
of the sea when agitated by a storm. Nor was 
this all ; for before our arrival at the cataract, 
we had to pass through a succession of whirl- 
pools and inconsiderable waterfalls, which, 
though not dangerous, added very much to the 
romantic character of our voyage. 

We had now passed all the horrors of the 
Danube, and the turbulence of the stream gra- 
dually subsided. The right bank still continued 
Servia, while on the left we had the principality 
X}f Wallachia, at whose first town,Kladova, we cast 
anchor. During the time occupied by tlie autho- 
rities in signing our passports, the captain and 
myself accepted the invitation of the agent of the 
steam-vessel, who resided here. Our host and 
his wife, a pretty little woman, were Hungarians ; 
they entertained us most hospitably, and I was not 
a little surprised to find in this remote part of the 
world, among many other luxuries of the table, 
ices, exquisite confectionery, and delicious wines. 
The lady, however, did not forget to tell us that 
she was nobly born, and bitterly lamented the 
want of society in the desert which now formed 



74 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

her residence : still she did every justice to the 
character of the Wallachian peasants, describing 
them as honest, kind-hearted, and obliging. She 
also informed us that provisions were extremely 
cheap, — meat not more than a penny a pound, 
poultry, bread, and excellent wine equally rea- 
sonable ; so that it would appear from her ac- 
count, that a man might here live like an alder- 
man for about twenty pounds a year. 

After bidding farewell to our kind host and 
hostess, we passed over to the Servian side, and 
took in two Turks as pilots. It was rather a 
novel spectacle to an Englishman to see these 
turbaned fellows at the helm of a steam-packet, 
and to hear our Italian captain giving the words 
of command, '' Ease her,"—*' Stop her,"—** G(S 
on/' in broken English. Indeed, in whatever 
part of the world I have travelled in a steam-boat, 
or by whomsoever commanded, whether Turk, 
Greek, Italian, German, or Russian, still I heard 
a repetition of these words, though sometimes 
delivered with such an accent as rendered them 
almost unintelligible. Thus they will probably 
become naturalised in the language of every 
nation in the world adopting steam navigation. 



75 



LETTER VIII. 

DESOLATION AND FERTILITY — REMAINS OF THE BRIDGE 

BUILT BY TRAJAN ENTER BULGARIA GOTHIC CASTLE AT 

FLORENTIN — WIDDIN FORTIFICATIONS — NIROPOLIS 

RUT8CRUCK GIUROBWO WRETCHED APPEARANCE OF 

THE TOWN AND INHABITANTS FOREST OF THISTLES — 

CURIOSITY OF THE WALLACHIANS 8IL1STRIA — FORTIFI- 
CATIONS TURKS AND RUSSIANS — MARSHES — MUSQUITOES 

— ADVICE TO TRAVELLERS. 

The scenery^ though no longer sublime, was still 
lovely, particularly on the Servian side. The 
luxuriantpastures, sprinkled withflocks and herds, 
shelving dov^n to the water's edge, were perhaps 
succeeded by a dense forest ; which, in turn, gave 
way to parks formed by the hand of nature, that 
might serve as models to the landscape gardener. 
Notwithstanding this apparent fertility of the soil, 
the country appeared as thinly populated as if it 
had been subject for ages to the ravages of war ; 
and the few villages, without garden or any rural 
embellishment, were the very personification of 
misery. I visited several, on each side of the 



76 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

river, and found the interior of the huts to cor- 
respond in wretchedness with the exterior. Still, 
in glaring contrast to all this evidence of poverty, 
the women were generally well dressed ; wearing 
on the head a sort of tiara, ornamented with 
small gold Turkish coins, besides costly neck- 
laces, bracelets, and earrings. Many of them 
were pretty, and their small delicate features 
indicated their Grecian origin. 

The next remarkable object we came to, was 
the ruins of the bridge built by command of the 
Emperor Trajan, after his conquest over the 
Dacian king, Decebalus. The remains of the 
arches are visible at low water, and the towers 
on each side of the river still maintain their posi- 
tion, in defiance of the storms of ages. The his- 
torian Dio Cassius tells us it was entirely built 
ofcutstoneby the architect, ApoUodorus Damas- 
cenes ; that it was a hundred and fifty feet high, 
sixty feet broad, and nine hundred feet long. 
This stupendous work was subsequently de- 
stroyed by Adrian, for the purpose of checking 
the progress of the barbarians. Near the Ser- 
vian village Werbitza, we passed a number of 
fishing-boats ; the men were engaged in hauling 
up a tremendous sturgeon, which it appears are 
very plentiful in this part of the river. Here the 
Danube made one of its most extensive curves. 



WIDDIN. 77 

bringing us back again nearly opposite the Turk- 
ish fortress at Neu-Orsova, whose Pacha we 
visited the preceding day. 

The river Timak, which flows into the Danube 
at the village of Gruja, forms the boundary 
between the provinces of Servia and Bulgaria ; 
and in a short time the eye of the traveller is 
gladdened by the sight of the pretty village 
Florentin, situated close to the river, and over- 
hung by the picturesque ruin of a gothic castle 
seated upon a high rock, forming altogether a 
veiy lovely landscape. Soon after we arrived at 
the fortress and populous town of Widdin, the 
residence of a Pacha, and said to contain twenty 
thousand inhabitants; numbersofwhom were now 
assembled on the heights to see us, appearing 
not a little to enjoy the novel spectacle, while 
it was equally amusing to us to behold the crowds 
in their long flowing robes, cheering the aquatic 
wonder. The fortifications at Widdin appeared to 
be on a splendid scale and in good order, show- 
ing a formidable front along the. banks of the 
river, flanked and protected at intervals by bas- 
tions : those on the land side were equally well 
executed, the whole mounting nearly three hun- 
dred guns. Several Turkish vessels, of about 
two hundred tons burden, were here lying at 
anchor, and others loading and reloading their 
cargoes ; exhibiting an appearance of activity un- 



78 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

usual to the Danube, from which we may iufer 
that no inconsiderable commerce is carried on by 
the inhabitants. 

I now caught a glimpse, for the first time, of 
the Balkan mountains, and the stupendous ro<;k 
Kaszan, well known to the traveller who journeys 
on the banks of the Danube. The country did 
not offer any remarkable feature, till we came to 
the fortress and town of Nikopolis, originally 
built by the Romans. The situation is pictu- 
resque, lying partly on the brow of a range of 
chalky cliffs, and partly covering the bed of a 
narrow valley ; and a little lower down the river 
stands the Bulgarian town of Sestos. Here we 
cast anchor for the night, but were not allowed 
to land by the sanatory officer on board, unless 
we chose to go through the tedious ceremony of 
the lazaretto. Sestos is said to contain upwards 
of twenty thousand inhabitants, and to carry on 
a considerable trade with Constantinople. It is 
memorable for the peace concluded here between 
Austria and the Ottoman Porte in 1791. 

Bulgaria still continued hilly, and the river 
had expanded to at least a league in breadth by 
the time we came to Rutschuck. This is also a 
fortified town, and, like Widdin, one of the most 
important and well-defended military stations be- 
longing to the Turks on the Danube, and said to 
contain thirty thousand inhabitants. It certainly 



* - 

GIURGEWO. 79 

bore all the appearance of a populous town, for 
myriads were assembled to greet us as we passed. 

We stopped at Giurgewo, in Wallachia, to take 
in coals and provisions, which induced me to 
accompany the steward to the town, situated on 
an arm of the Danube, some distance from the 
main stream. Our route lay through a vast 
unenclosed steppe, with here and there an en- 
campment of the half-naked, wild-looking natives, 
surrounded by flocks of sheep, mules, asses, buf- 
faloes, &c. Were a native of Caledonia rambling 
over this long-neglected but fertile country, he 
might indeed contemplate with rapture his na- 
tional emblem, which here proudly rears its lofty 
head to a height of at least seven feet. Its 
myriads of blossoms formed a forest in bloom, 
and not only charmed the eye by their bright 
colours, but filled the air with the balmy fra- 
grance they emitted. 

Griurgewo did not repay the trouble of strug- 
gling through so many difficulties; for, in addition 
to that of threading our way through a prickly 
forest, we were obliged to ford a river that rose 
nearly breast high. I found the town, like every 
other I had hitherto seen in the Turkish empire, 
composed of dirty narrow streets, and houses 
built of mud, with here and there one a little 
more pretending in its appearance, ornamented 



80 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

by a wooden verandah. I was therefore obliged 
to console myself for my disappointment by «n 
excellent cup of coffee and a tchibouque in one of 
the numerous coffee-houses, the only dwellings 
that really bore the semblance of comfort in the 
whole town. 

The inhabitants appeared to have no better 
occupation than to loll the whole day on their 
little carpets, and smoke the tchibouque. Even 
the storks seemed to have caught the same do- 
nothing apathy, for they were reposing quietly 
with their young ones in nests on the tops of the 
houses. A few of the women, however, as is 
usually the case in half-civilised countries, were 
somewhat more industriously disposed ; for they 
were to be seen pursuing the twofold employ- 
ment of spinning from the distaff, and inhaling 
the fragrance of the narcotic herb from pipes 
quite as long as those of their lords. But of the 
whole population of Giurgewo, the canine alone 
exhibited the most untiring activity, as they dili- 
gently prowled the streets in search of food. 

On returning to our vessel, I found the banks 
of the river covered with a motley collection of 
Wallachians of all ranks and ages, together with 
the most primitive-looking vehicles you can ima- 
gine. Numbers of the wondering multitude, not 
contented with viewing the steam-boat from the 
shore, crowded its decks ; upon which the captain. 



8ILISTR1A.. 8 1 

who was fond of a joke, made signals to his men 
to draw up the gangway, and set the vessel in mo- 
tion. The scene that then ensued was highly ludi- 
crous; the women screamed, the men stormed, and 
all were as much frightened as if they were being 
deprived for ever of their liberty ; and not a few 
even went the length of thinking that the steamer 
had become unmanageable, and was actually run- 
ning away with them to Heaven knows where ! 

After passing on one side the navigable river 
Dombrovieza, upon which Bucharest, the capital 
of Wallachia, is situated, and Turtukai on the 
other, a very considerable commercial town in 
Bulgaria, we cast anchor before Silistria, a for- 
tified town, distinguished during the late war 
between the Russians and Turks. It is now in a 
most ruinous state, but, being ornamented with 
the swelling mosque and graceful minaret, forms 
a pleasing feature in the landscape. 

The fortifications, still manned by Russian* 
soldiers, consist of long weak curtains, with a 
few miserable bastions, badly planned and worse 
built, forming altogether a most inefficient de- 
fence against the well-directed attack of an 
enemy. Indeed the more minutely we examine 
the fortifications of Silistria, the more we must 

^ Since this voyage was made, the Russian troops have 
evacuated the fortress. 

VOL. I. G 



82 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

appreciate the bravery of the twelve thousand 
gallant Turks that held this place for nine months 
against an overwhelming force of fifty thousand 
Russians, furnished with every material neces- 
sary for carrying on a most murderous siege. 

The steam-engine requiring some slight repair, 
we again cast anchor about half-way between 
Silistria and Hirsova. Here the Danube becomes 
so broad, that while coasting on the Bulgarian 
side, Wallachia opposite was scarcely visible. 

The banks now became exceedingly marshy, 
and I would beg permission to counsel the tra- 
veller, who values either skin, sleep, or comfort, 
not to journey down this part of the Danube 
without a musquito net, as he is certain of being 
assailed by myriads of musquitoes and sand-flies, 
to say nothing of the hornets; by these I was 
attacked, sometimes alternately, sometimes in con- 
junction. But it is during the night that the 
musquitoes are most troublesome ; then we found 
them so numerous as frequently to extinguish the 
lights in the cabin : no contrivance on our part 
could prevent their attack, so insatiate is their 
thirst for blood. Tormented by them, and the 
hot pestilential air of the cabin, I sought the 
deck, where I was obliged to pass the night 
whistling to the winds, and watching the stars, 
sleep being completely out of the question. This 



HIRSOVA. 83 

most redundant insect population are, no doubt, 
engendered by the marshes which everywhere 
abound in this part of the Danube ; and that 
nothing may be wanting to complete the plagues 
of poor humanity, it is said that the intermittent 
fever, another offspring of the swamps, is very 
likely to be the fate of him who exposes himself 
to the night air by sleeping on deck. 

The next morning we continued our route ; and 
such was the rapidity of the stream, that even 
without the assistance of the engine we were 
hurried forward with astonishing velocity till we 
came to Hirsova, which I visited while the engine 
was repairing. I found it to be miserable in the 
extreme, every house being built of mud, with 
the exception of the mosque, a very tolerable 
edifice. Hirsova was, however, a very consider- 
able town before its destruction by the Russians, 
who, the Turks told us, did not leave a single 
house standing. It is prettily situated on a series 
of undulating eminences, which rise in projecting 
rocks clbse to the river, appearing in every re- 
spect admirably adapted for a fortified town. 

I ascended the projecting rock on which the 
citadel formerly stood, and although now a heap 
of stones, still it had the honour of resisting the 
siege of the Russians for two months. I enjoyed 
from its summit a very extensive prospect over 

G 2 



84 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

the vast plains of Wallachia and a great part 
of Bulgaria, to the far distant chain of Mount 
Haemus. But how melancholy was the scene be- 
fore me ! Throughout the whole of that immense 
district, notwithstanding it has the advantages of 
a fine climate and fertile soil adapted to every 
production, there was not a single object to de- 
light the eye and gladden the heart. Here were 
no smiling towns and villages with their rural 
population, the pride of every country ; and had 
it not been for a few scattered huts, with here 
and there a flock of sheep and a herd of bufialoes, 
it might be called a desert. 

The whole of the inhabitants of these beautiful 
but benighted provinces, with the exception of a 
few towns on the Danube, are principally Chris- 
tians of the Greek church, and justly extolled by 
travellers for their industrious peaceable habits, 
particularly the Bulgarians, who are a pastoral 
people. Yet, so oppressive has been the long rule 
of the Ottoman government, and so protracted the 
devastating wars, that the people have gradually 
relapsed into semi-barbarism, and the country has 
become so depopulated, that the pelican of the wil- 
derness everywhere finds an undisturbed habita- 
tion, and the eagles are so numerous as to have been 
our companions during the whole of our voyage 
down the Danube, from Pest to the Black Sea. 



GDARD-HOUSB AND WATCH-TOWER. 

LETTER IX. 

CALATZ — HI3KBABLB ASPECT OF THE TOWN— tNCREABlNG 
COMMERCE INHABITANTS DEPABTUEB FOR CONSTANTI- 
NOPLE — PASSBNGERS OEEMAN STUDENTS — HUNGARIAN 

NOBLEMAN BESSABABtA — DELTA OF THE DANOBB— 

COSSACK GUABD-HOUSES— INSALUBRITY OF THEIR SITUA- 
TION — GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. 

The bills, whose ever-varying beauty had de- 
lighted ua from the time we left Belgrade, now 
melted into a monotonous plain; and we passed 
onward through an expanse of water, resembling 
a sea studded with innumerable islets. In the 
far distance we again caught a glimpse of Mount 
Haemiis, which became more distinctly developed 
as we approached Draila, a commercial town of 



86 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

some importance in Wallachia. Here I was not 
more surprised than pleased to see several Eng- 
lish vessels in its little port, and our flag waving 
from a height in the town. 

Shortly after leaving Braila^ we passed the 
river Szereth, which divides Moldavia from Wal- 
lachia; and in about an hour cast anchor at 
Galatz, the most commercial town in Moldavia, 
containing, it is said, twenty thousand inhabitants; 
but advancing no higher claims to architectural 
beauty than those I have already described. 

The citizens have, however, made one step 
towards improvement, by paving one or two of 
the principal streets with boards, like some of the 
alpine villages in the Tyrol. Still, there is nei- 
ther inn nor house of public entertainment in the 
whole town, except a coffee-house. As to beds, 
they are considered most unnecessary articles of 
furniture, a divan covered with leather, or a 
straw mattress laid on the floor, being the only 
substitute : nor were the inhabitants more at- 
tentive to their personal appearance than their 
comforts^ soap and water being evidently as great 
strangers to their persons, as combs to their 
matted locks ; and the sheep-skin jacket was 
the universal habiliment of the peasant. 

Notwithstanding these repulsive features, still 
some signs of improvement were visible ; there 



GALATZ. 87 

was an air of animation in the port, and a few 
pretty villas were being built on the heights : 
Galatz in these respects differing widely from 
those sluggish towns we had hitherto visited. 
This was further evidenced by the appearance of 
several vessels lying in the river, including two 
Austrian steam-boats, the Argo and thei Ferdi- 
nando Primo: the latter, a very fine vessel, jour- 
neys between this port and Constantinople. Here 
I had again the pleasure of seeing several English 
vessels, and here we have also a vice-consul ; but, 
strange to say, he was a foreigner, and spoke no 
language but his native Italian; much to the 
annoyance of the English merchants and traders. 
The articles principally exported from Galatz are 
timber, wool, tallow, hides, wax, honey, flax, 
hemp, com, including nearly all the raw mate* 
rials usually found in such a latitude ; and as 
these provinces are completely destitute of 
manufactures, the trade is most profitable to the 
merchant, and daily increasing. 

In wandering through the town, I was more 
pleased with the aspect of the inhabitants than of 
their dwellings, as they formed a variety of groups 
at once picturesque and interesting. In one place, 
under the verandah of a coffee-house, sat a crowd 
of Turks, languidly smoking the tchibouque : in 
another were to be seen, sauntering along the 



88 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

beach, a long range of most primitive- looking 
carriages, driven by Jews, Turks, Greeks, or 
Moldavians, in their respective costumes, and 
attended by bare-legged footmen. Here the 
awkward military were attempting to perform 
their European evolutions ; and a stranger, on 
observing them, might deem they were afraid of 
gunpowder, as they never fired a salute without 
first making the sign of the cross on their fore- 
heads. There Jews, in their long vestments and 
high fur caps, were selling their flimsy wares, at 
a profit of cent, per cent., to the crew of an 
English vessel just released from quarantine ; 
and, to complete the picture, hundredsof men and 
boys were breasting the silvery current of the 
river, unencumbered with the superfluity of bath- 
ing-dresses, beneath the eyes of numbers of fair 
ladies, who nevertheless seemed to regard the 
matter with the most perfect nonchalance. 

After remaining two days at Galatz, 1 embark- 
ed in the Ferdinando steam-packet. Captain Ever- 
son, for Constantinople. Here I found, much to 
my gratification, two of my countrymen among 
the passengers, — Captain Johnson, of the East 
India Company's service, and Mr. Newton : in the 
latter I had the pleasure of recognising an old 
travelling acquaintance. We had also a Hunga- 
rian nobleman, and a considerable sprinkling of 



GERMAN STUDENTS. 89 

Uerman students; these were deck-passengers ^ 
for which they only paid a few florins ; and if they 
had been bound for the Indies, they could not have 
laid in a more ample stock of provisions : true it 
is, they were about to embark on the Black Sea, 
which, to a German who had never even beheld 
salt water, appeared an enterprise of no common 
importance. In genuine patriarchal style they 
feasted upon the common store, while their con- 
tinued vocal efibrts gave to our vessel the semblance 
of a beer-shop : several were fashionably dressed, 
with tremendous spurs dangling at their heels; and 
thus, whip in hand, each strutted up and down the 
deck with as much consequence as a seignior of a 
thousand acres. In short, they were a most noisy, 
ill-behaved set of young men, between whom and 
the captain there was open war from the moment 
they entered the vessel ; for, much to the annoy- 
ance of the cabin-passengers, they struggled to 
obtain exclusive possession of the deck, maintain- 
ing, to the very letter, that it was their right as 
deck-passengers. At one time the contest as- 
sumed an air of gravity, until the captain, an in- 
teHigent, active seaman, threatened to lower the 
boat and put them ashore : this, together, with a 
few friendly remonstrances addressed to them on 
my part, at length convinced them of their folly ; 
for, being the only Englishman on board that 



90 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

spoke German, I was obliged to perform the dis- 
agreeable office of dragoman. 

Among our cabin-passengers, the brave Magyar 
was the most original in his manners. He was in 
the prime of life, full of fire and animation, with 
not a little of the assured confidence of a man ac- 
customed to command ; he was a complete horror 
to our refined countrymen, whose every word and 
gesture was studied, and whose conversation was 
carried on in a sotto voce tone, certainly not in- 
tended to communicate with those whose auricular 
organs were in the slightest degree disordered. 
In direct opposition to this, every sentence uttered 
by our Hungarian friend was in a voice so pitched 
in altOj as to resemble that of a seaman in a storm. 
In addition to this sin against good manners, he 
used his fork for a tooth-pick, and expectorated 
much too freely on the floor, and never thought 
it necessary to listen to any other conversation 
than his own ; which flowed on in one continued 
stream, most unfortunately for his hearers, for he 
was a man of limited information, though he con- 
ceived himself to be a living encyclopedia, and 
competent to discuss every subject. This partly 
resulted from his high station in his own country, 
where he was a ** doctor qj Jaws and philosophy," 
and also a seignior of two or three most unpro- 
nounceable lordships : still, notwithstanding these 



ISMAEL. 91 

foibles, he was a truly estimable man, honest in 
his principles, and an excellent travelling com- 
panion. 

On arriving at the Pruth, which forms the boun- 
dary between Bessarabia and Moldavia, we per- 
ceive the town of Reni, or Timorava. Here the 
possessions of Russia commence; and a little 
lower down, at Kartal, opposite the Bulgarian for- 
tress Isakscha, is the fatal spot where the armies 
of that power were accustomed to throw over a 
bridge of boats, when about to invade the Turkish 
territory : a situation well adapted to that pur- 
pose, owing to the number of islands and the 
contracted bed of the river. On passing the great 
lake Jalburg, Ismael becomes visible. This town, 
called by the Turks Smir, is also famous in the 
history of the wars between Russia and Turkey. 
Suwarrow took it in 1789 by storm, and, not 
contented with delivering up the ill-fated city to 
be plundered by an infuriated soldiery, reduced 
nearly the whole of the town to ashes, and mas- 
sacred, according to the Turkish accounts, twenty 
thousand of the inhabitants. Thus, from being 
one of the most beautiful and commercial towns in 
the Ottoman empire, adorned with palaces and 
mosques, and a population of thirty thousand, 
Ismael has now become of so little importance as 
scarcely to deserve mention. 



92 VOYAGE DOWN THE DANUBE. 

A short distance from Ismael commences what 
is termed the Delta of the Danube, a perfect sea 
thickly studded with islands, extending for leagues 
in every direction. These islands are for the most 
part swampy, with little or no vegetation save bul- 
rushes: as to cultivation, there is none, being lite- 
rally a desolation of desolation. Here, also, the 
river divides itself into the various arms which dis- 
charge this vast body of water into the Black Sea. 
The number of these varies according to different 
accounts ; some give them at seven, while others 
limit them to five. For myself, I should be inclined 
to confine them to four ; as that arm of the river 
which runs into the Ramsin lake, although it emp- 
ties its waters into the sea in three different places, 
can in reality only be considered as one. Plinius 
estimated them at six, which agrees with the 
Turkish calculation, from whom they have also 
received their present appellation. 

We took the channel called Suline Bogasi, 
which is that generally used by mariners, and con- 
sidered to be the principal stream ; and, accord- 
ing to the late Russian treaty with the Ottoman 
Porte, it was agreed that the centre of this arm of 
the Danube should fonn for the future the 
boundai^ line between the two empires^ each reserv- 
ing to itself the right of navigation. 

Our voyage from Galatz to the Black Sea was 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. 93 

anything but agreeable : the banks were every- 
where marshy, especially below the Pruth ; and 
as a consequence, themusquitoes and hornet-flies 
were multiplied tenfold. Still, however favour- 
able the swamps might have been to the increase 
of our tiny tormentors, they were most deleteri- 
ous to the health of man : this was sadly evidenced 
in the bloated countenances of the wretched Cos- 
sacks, doomed to guard the Russian frontier in 
this part of the empire. But as we rushed for- 
ward by the aid of steam, and a current computed 
to run at a rate of twenty thousand feet in an 
hour, we experienced no other inconvenience 
from the climate than a little annoyance from 
our insect enemies. 

Notwithstanding these petty dSsagrSmenSy still, 
taken altogether, I have seldom performed a tour 
which afforded me more real pleasure, nor one 
thatoffered scenes of such varied interest, whether 
we regard the beauty of the scenery, the striking 
diversity of features exhibited by the different 
provinces, together with the primitive state of the 
inhabitants ; the whole passing in review as if in a 
panorama. Nor must I forget to mention, that 
the whole expense attending the voyage amounted 
to no more than about eleven pounds. This sum, 
be it remembered, does not include the expenses 
of the table, which must always be regulated 



94 ARRIVAL AT THE BLACK SEA. 

according to the inclinations of the traveller. 
With respect to the time occupied, were it not 
for the vexatious detentions of the passengers 
by the Austrian authorities in signing passports, 
together with the ill-planned arrangements of the 
directors, the tourist might leave Vienna and 
arrive at Constantinople with the greatest ease in 
eight days, casting anchor each night about sun- 
set. However, as things are at present consti- 
tuted, he may consider, himself well off, if he is 
able to accomplish the voyage in twelve days. But 
even this rate of travelling is considered by the 
natives of these provinces equal to the speed of an 
air-balloon ; so different is the value of time where 
the absence of commercial and manufacturing 
employments leaves the mass of the population to 
the enjoyment of more idleness than wealth. So 
now farewell to the Danube : my next letter will, 
I trust, inform you of my arrival in the capital of 
the Ottoman empire. 

Adieu. 



ENTRANCE INTO THE BLACK SEA. 95 



LETTER X. 

ENTRANCE INTO THE BLACK SEA — OBSERVATIONS RESPECT- 
ING IT STORM — GERMAN TERROR — LANDING AT VARNA 

— FORTIFICATIONS — THRACIAN BOSPHORUS COMPARISON 

BETWEEN THE BAY OF NAPLES AND STAMBOUL. 

The distant prospect of the Black Sea was re- 
garded by all on board with unmingled satisfac- 
tion, if for nothing else than the hope it engen- 
dered that we should be delivered from our insect 
enemies. We were hailed at the mouth of the 
Danube by a Russian officer of the quarantine, 
who proved to be an Englishman, the son of a 
Mr. Carruthers, formerly a merchant at Odessa. 
Here it was that the Russians intended to impose 
a toll upon all foreign vessels navigating between 
the Black Sea and the Danube : an intention , 
however^ which a little well-timed remonstrance 
by English firmness, and a little prudent reflec- 
tion on their own part, induced them to aban* 
don, at least for the present ; but as they are 
diligently employed in erecting a quarantine esta- 
blishment, which will be followed in all probabi- 



96 ORIGIN OF ITS NAME. 

lity by a town, futurity will tell whether or not 
their moderation will be persisted in. 

Our papers having been found perfectly cor- 
rect, we were allowed to pass the Russian guard- 
house, and to our great satisfaction entered the 
Euxine. This vast expanse of water, now be- 
come of the most vital importance to the whole 
commercial and political world, is about two 
hundred and three leagues in length; and its 
greatest breadth, on the meridian of 31^ east, 
a hundred and ten leagues. The Turks call 
it Kara-denghis, and the Russians Tscherno- 
more (Black Sea). This appellation is pre- 
sumed to have been given in consequence of the 
frequent occurrence of thick black fogs, caused 
by the surrounding mountains intercepting the 
vapours when they arise from its surface. 

Owing to the prodigious quantity of fresh 
water poured into the Euxine from its numerous 
tributaries, the water is rather brackish than salt ; 
hence it freezes with a moderate degree of cold, 
and in severe winters the whole of the northern 
coast, more especially that near Odessa, pre- 
sents one vast field of ice. 

The navigation of this sea is also attended 
with some inconvenience to small vessels, on 
account of its being continually fed by some of 
the noblest rivers in Europe, which produce 



STORM AT SEA. 97 

violent currents, particularly during the early 
months of summer, when they are increased in 
volume by the melting of the snow. That 
caused by the Danube was now most observable, 
our vessel being hurried forward with extreme 
velocity; while the noble stream, which had so 
long borne us continued to preserve its yellow 
turbid character for an immense distance, as 
it rolled through the clear, dark-blue waters of 
the sea. When a strong wind directs its force 
against these currents, a short ^' chopping sea " 
ensues, still more dangerous to the safety of 
small or ill-built vessels. 

It must also be observed, that when a vessel 
during a strong gale is unable to lie-to, or obliged 
to run before the wind, or^ through the ignorance 
of her commander, finds it impossible to make a 
port, she runs some danger of being wrecked ; 
for, though the sea itself presents no object to 
jeopardise her safety, there being neither rocks, 
shoals, nor islands, (with the exception of Serpents' 
Island near Odessa,) yet the high rocky shore 
offers an aspect full of peril, particularly on the 
coast of the Crimea and Circassia. These lofty 
crags also form another source of danger to the 
mariner, by attracting thunder-storms, which oc- 
casionally rage here with great violence : and des- 
tiny decided that one of the wildest fury should 

VOL .1. H 



98 TERROR OF THE PASSENGERS. 

DOW threaten our bark with destruction ; for though 
the Ferdinando was a fine vessel, of a hundred- 
horse power, and commanded by an Englishman, 
an experienced navigator, still she found it diffi- 
cult to come off victorious in her struggle against 
the elements without sustaining some loss. 

The sea heaved fearfully, the watery mountains 
rolled over each other in rapid succession, the fiery 
lightning darted through the dark, wild clouds, 
accompanied by tremendous peals of thunder, and 
the howling wind drove our vessel like a feather 
through the surge ; it was, in truth, a glorious 
spectacle, and made a deep impression upon our 
Hungarian traveller and the German students, 
who now admired, for the first time, the grandeur 
of a sea-storm. 

Their admiration was, however, quickly con- 
verted into fear, when they beheld the steam-boat 
pitching first on one side and then on the other. 
But how is it possible to paint their horror and 
consternation when she first shipped water ? Pale 
with apprehension, for one and all expected that 
we were immediately going to the bottom, they 
first invoked all the saints in the calendar to pro- 
tect them, and next execrated their own folly 
for committing themselves to the fickle element. 
Drenched to the skin, and with countenances of 
an ashy paleness, they were to be seen, in one 



VARNA. 99 

part of the deck, locked in each other's arms; and 
in another, clinging with all their strength to a 
rope. While the brave Magyar, the dauntless hero 
of a dozen battles, and who never before knew 
what fear was^ trembled like a leaf, and assuredly 
at no time embraced a fair maiden more lovingly 
than he now did the mast ; and nothing could per- 
suade him, every time the vessel creaked, but that 
she was splitting to pieces. All attempts of the 
captain to clear the deck of these, to liim^ useless 
lumber were unavailing; till at length the heaving 
billows performed upon the whole party the work 
of ipecacuanha, and they retreated to the cabin, 
having then become careless whether they were 
shipwrecked or not. 

The wind having abated, we soon reached 
Varna, where we remained about half an hour. 
This is now a miserable town, everywhere bear- 
ing marks, in its half-ruined citadel and dilapi- 
dated fortifications, of the severe and protracted 
siege it sustained by the Russians. Being built 
at the confluence of several small rivers, or rather 
extensive marshes, it is not considered healthy ; 
but owing to its situation, if properly fortified 
and well defended, Varna might prove a strong 
bulwark against an invading army. 

There are several works in progress, consist- 
ing of the usual long line of unprotected curtains, 

H 2 



100 THE BOSPHORUS. 

with a few bastionR that we see in most of the 
Turkish fortifications, without any outwork or co- 
vered way of any description, except a narrow 
ditch, leaving half the escarp wall exposed on 
every side. You are, perhaps, not aware that this 
fortress, notwithstanding the bombastic accounts 
we heard of its capture by the Russians, was sold 
by that execrable monster Usef Pacha, who after- 
wards took refuge in Russia ; and although he was 
condemned to death as a traitor on the clearest 
evidence, yet the poor Sultan, at the command of 
the Emperor Nicholas, was not only compelled to 
pardon, but invest him with the government of 
Belgrade! Thus much for the independence of 
our most faithful and ancient ally. 

On leaving Varna, the coast of the Black Sea 
became highly interesting. The great ridge of 
the Balkan mountains was already distinctly de- 
veloped on the distant horizon ; and the shelving 
hills, diversified by woods, valleys, bays, and 
promontories, formed a variety of beautiful land- 
scapes ; to which the primitive looking Turkish 
sailing-boats, with the gaudy turbans of the sailors, 
as they skimmed over the tranquil sea, contributed 
no small degree of novelty and picturesque effect. 

In hazy weather, vessels generally sail near the 
Bulgarian coast, having for landmarks Cape Ka- 
liakri, and on the eastern side the lofty mountains 



THE BOSPHORUS. 101 

called the Deux Mamelles ; valuable to the mari- 
ner, for it i-arely happens that any fog is suffici- 
ently dense to obscure them, and in clear weather 
they are distinctly seen at a distance of thirty 
English miles. 

About an hour before daylight, the lighthouses 
at the entrance of the Bosphorus were visible ; 
but both burned so dimly, that, although we could 
not have been more than five or six miles distant, 
it was scarcely possible to distinguish the lamps. 
That upon the European side, Roumelie Phener, 
standing upon the ancient Promontorium Panium, 
is defended by a castle, beneath which is a group 
of rocks with the remains of an altar, said to have 
been built by the Romans, and dedicated to Augus- 
tus. The Asiatic, or Anadolian lighthouse, called 
Phenes Bachtchesi, is also defended by a fort : 
this mean building was even worse lighted than 
its companion in Europe. 

As the day dawned, the lovely scenery upon 
the banks of this justly-celebrated channel burst 
upon our view. The sun beamed forth with a 
splendour only known in such a highly-favoured 
latitude, illuminating with a stream of rosy light 
a succession of the most lovely pictures that can 
be imagined. However, it is not my intention, 
in this travelling age, to sing the charms of 
the Bosphorus — charms that have already been 



102 FIRST VIEW OF CONSTANTINOPLE. 

chanted by the poets of every land and every 
tongue. Let it suffice, that the artist who would 
paint all that is picturesque in the loveliest forms 
of art and nature, has only to study its fairy 
scenery and smiling shores, studded with oriental 
palaces, graceful chiosks, and swelling domes, 
mingling their varied outlines with the rich foliage 
of a thousand trees. All this you will readily 
imagine; consequently it cannot be necessary 
for me to fatigue your attention with a length- 
ened description. 

Most travellers, on arriving here, establish com- 
parisons, according to individual taste, between 
the beautiful situation of Stamboul and its rivals 
in loveliness, — the delightful bay of Naples, and 
the proud amphitheatre of Genoa. My fellow- 
travellers, Captain Johnson and Mr. Newton, had, 
like myself, extended their rambles far and wide, 
and the latter resided for many years in Naples. 
A warfare of words, therefore, arose among us 
with respect to the comparative beauties of the 
bright gem of Italy, and the equally brilliant jewel 
of the Bosphorus. In common with most travel- 
lers, my companions, on the first coup-d'oeil, 
awarded the preference to the crescent-crowned 
city of the Osmanlis ; which is not surprising, 
for it is impossible to behold that glorious waving 
mountain-outline, that amphitheatre of splendid 



FIRST VIEW OF CONSTANTINOPLE. 103 

oriental edifices, rendered even more picturesque 
by the defects in their architecture, without admi* 
ration. Nor is this all ; for the splendour of the 
panorama was at that moment heightened by the 
aspect of the mirrored city in the clear blue waters 
of the Golden Horn, and the myriads of graceful 
cdihs darting in every direction with the swift- 
ness of arrows over its crystal bosom. 

Notwithstanding, however, all these fascinating 
objects, my suffrage was unhesitatingly given in 
favour of my old friend the bay of Naples ; per- 
haps, after all, owing to its being connected with 
many delightful associations of early life. Still, 
the effect of Stamboul depends in a great measure 
upon art, on the novel and graceful architecture 
of its mosques, minarets, and gay-coloured chiosks, 
mingling, in all their various and picturesque 
forms, with the dark outline of groves of cypresses 
and plane trees. Annihilate these, and half the 
charms of the picture would be destroyed : while 
the beauty of the bay of Naples, with its sublime 
combinations of scenery, hill, mountain, vale, and 
sea, would remain uninjured, were its proud city^ 
suburban villas, and mountain monasteries laid 
in ruins. Besides, in whatever direction you 
journey in the neighbourhood of Naples, whether 
through its champaign country or mountain dis- 
tricts, skirting along the shores of its bay, or 



104 FIRST VIEW OF CONSTANTINOPLE. 

watching the curling vapours of Vesuvius, it is 
impossible not to confess the witchery of the scene. 
Whereas, when contemplating Stamboul, we are 
obliged to recognise, as the sublimest features, 
the gently-elevated hills of Europe and Asia on 
the Bosphorus ; the distant mountains of Thrace 
being neither sufficiently lofty nor picturesque : 
and, be it remembered, in order to obtain a view 
of the classical Olympus, you are obliged to 
leave Stamboul and the magical shores of the 
Golden Horn. 

However, we may as well conclude a truce 
with criticism on the relative beauties of the two 
capitals ; for though a traveller may be influenced 
by taste or prejudice in favour of one or the 
other, it is impossible to bring them fairly into 
comparison, — the oriental pomp and general 
novelty of the eastern metropolis amply counter- 
balancing whatever advantages its Italian rival 
may possess in the magnificent bay and scenery 
by which it is surrounded. But whatever may 
be our bias with regard to the City of the Sultan, 
the present aspects of the political horizon invest 
it with peculiar interest ; as it will, in all proba- 
bility, be the arena on which the struggle for 
European supremacy will be contested. 



r 



.^ 



GIAOUKB SMOKING THE TCHIBOUQUE WITH THE PACHA OF 
THK DARDANRLLES. / 

v/ 
LETTER XL 

OEPARTUBB FOB THE DARDANELLBa — INCRBASB OP PAS- 
8EKGEBS — A PACHA — HIS HABEM AND 8UITB — VISIT TO 
THE PACHA OP THE DABDANBLLES — HOULLAH— ORIEN- 
TAL ENTERTAIN KENT — HALL OP AUDIBNCB — THE AD- 
VANTAGES OP- A TB9RBRB. 

This time I was obliged to content myself with 
merely a glance at the fair city of Constantine, 
in consequence of our steam-boat having been 
engaged to convey the Pacha of the Dardanelles, 
his harem and suite, to his new residence, the 
castle at Chanak-kalesi, on the Dardanelles. Our 
Oamanli grandee, whose movements were at once 



106 VISIT TO THE PACHA 

active and bustling — characteristics that rarely 
distinguish a Mussulman of the present day, 
proved to be a fine, bluff, healthy-looking man, 
something in the style of an English squire who 
had been accustomed from his youth to brush the 
dew from the grass at break of day, while pur- 
suing the pleasures of the chase. His manners 
were dignified, as those of a Turk in authority 
always are. Nevertheless, he was more commu- 
nicative, and exhibited a much nearer approach 
to good-humoured cordiality, than we usually 
find in so great and grave a personage as one, 
who is at the same time a M ir-miran and a Pacha 
of two tails. 

With the exception of the red cap and blue 
tassel, which is now almost universally the head- 
dress worn by Turks of every class, he was 
attired, together with the officers of his suite, 
completely in the European military costume. 
These, together with the attendants and a harem, 
consisting of ten ladies, formed a cortege of about 
fifty persons. The women, as usual, were most 
hermetically veiled, no part of the face being 
visible except the eyes ; and that they might not 
be exposed to the slightest observation, the sky- 
l*ght of the cabin was kept continually covered , 
while guards with drawn swords were placed at 
the door, and on the steps leading to it. 

On arriving at the chateau of the Dardanelles, 



OF THE DARDANELLES. 107 

Boreas appeared to have had some especial spite 
against the chief of these formidable straits, our 
friend the Pacha ; for when it became necessary 
that the fair prisoners should ascend to the deck, 
preparatory to leaving the vessel, he blew such 
a gust, that not only their veils, but tresses 
floated in the breeze, in spite of the most 
indefatigable efforts of the ennuchs to keep the 
rebellious muslin in decent order. Hence I had 
a most favourable opportunity of deciding that 
the countenances of the greater number of the 
ladies were not particularly handsome, — except 
one, whom we understood to be the principal 
wife of the Pacha. She was, indeed, a lovely 
woman, about eighteen, with fine dark eyes, black 
hair, and features cast in the finest mould ; but her 
complexion being excessively pallid, they wore 
an expression of great tristesse, most probably 
the effect of the strict confinement to which the 
women of the East are universally subject. 

Upon leaving the packet, the Pacha invited 
CaptainJohnson, Mr. Newton, and myself, to take 
coffee and smoke a pipe with him at his chateau. 
After threading our way through an awkward 
squad of young tacticoes, we entered a vast 
antechamber filled with the attendants, who were 
drawn up in military array to receive us : these 
were the keff-jis, tchibouquegis, and toutoon-jis 



108 VISIT TO THE PACHA 

of his excellency, a motley tribe, black, white, 
and brown. We then passed into a spacious 
saloon, where the great man was seated on a rich 
divan, close to the window, enjoying the cool sea- 
breeze. The spiritual monitor, the mouUah, sat 
beside him, indolent and heavy-looking as a 
camel ; and though I intend no disrespect to the 
priesthood, I cannot help saying that he was one 
of the most unprepossessing men I ever beheld, 
his cadaverous countenance exhibiting a mingled 
expression of malignity, ferocity, and fanaticism. 
He was, in fact, a personification of envy, hatred, 
malice, and all uncharitableness, seated in the 
most inappropriate juxtaposition with the god of 
good cheer ; for the Pacha was the beau-ideal, in 
appearance, of good fellows. 

On entering, we made our salutations d la 
Turqvs^ which the inveteracy of European habits 
rendered somewhat difficult : however, as we were 
already in some degree familiar with these essen- 
tial observances in oriental manners, we did not 
perpetrate any remarkable gaucheries. The 
Pacha, in return, broke through the line of de- 
marcation between the Mussulman and the 
Giaour ; for he arose, and made as near an ap- 
proach to a smile as his sense of the dignity of a 
Pacha would permit, and politely motioned us to 
be seated. 



OF THE DARDANELLES. 109 

After a decorous lapse of time had intervened, 
and exactly at the moment prescribed by etiquette^ 
our host, through the medium of the dragoman, 
bade us welcome. Then came another interval of 
silence, for, be it remembered, the high rank of 
a Pacha will not permit him to chatter incessantly. 
This pause continued till the darling tchibouque, 
the beloved friend of the Turk, the substitute for 
mirthful conversation in visits intended to be gay, 
and the welcome filler-up of pauses in those in- 
tended to be ceremonious, made their appearance. 
These were presented in due ceremony by the 
proper ofBcer, the tchibouque-ji, who crossed his 
hands on his breast and knelt on one knee as 
he introduced, with a neat little pair of silver 
tongs, the atesh (fire) into the bowl : when the im- 
portant ceremony of ignition was concluded, he 
made another salutation and retired. The pipes 
were really splendid, of the purest Turkish cherry 
or jessamine, with superb amber mouth-pieces. In 
short, their length and magnificence were befitting 
the state of a Pacha. 

The coffee followed, with was served on a 
gold tray by four herculean slaves as black as 
ebony, who knelt on presenting it ; and then re- 
tired toacorner of the room, where they remained 
like statues till we had finished. The fragrant 
fluid, which was so excellent that a teaspoonful 



110 VISIT TO THE PACHA 

might be diluted into a quart in England, was 
poured into cups of the finest porcelain, each 
reposing in an external cup of pure gold, prettily 
pierced and filigraned. 

When we had taken coffee, conversation com- 
menced. The Pacha expressed a hope, that the 
differences which had just arisen between Eng- 
land and the Porte, respecting the unfortunate 
affair of Mr. Churchill, would be speedily and 
amicably arranged ; and also, that the alliances 
between the two governments might be cemented 
more closely. To this, of course, we made suit- 
able replies, and, after a few additional observa- 
tions by our host, another hiatus ensued in the 
conversation ; but at this time it was of such an 
unreasonable length, that we made some slight 
demonstrations of our intention to depart. 

At this moment a second party of slaves en- 
♦:ered, carrying a massive silver tray filled with 
confectionery : these were followed by two others, 
one bearing a silver- mounted bottle containing 
perfumed water, and the other swinging by a 
chain, in the same manner as the sacristans in 
the Catholic churches, a silver filigree censer, 
from whose apertures issued the most agreeable 
aromatic vapours. One of our party, whose 
olfactory nerves were not accustomed to this 
stimulus, unfortunately broke out into a violent 



OF THE DARDANELLES. Ill 

fit of sneezing, which sadly disconcerted his gra- 
vity, and absolutely curled the mouth of the Pacha 
into something that might be construed as a 
smile. Having, therefore, received all the ho- 
nours prescribed by oriental politeness, we de- 
parted, highly gratified with the urbanity of our 
host, and his courteous reception. 

I shall now give you a slight description of 
what, perhaps, we may call the hall of audience, 
and which may serve for every other to which I 
may have occasion to introduce you, for they are 
nearly all similar in their appointments. The 
walls were painted a light green, and the floor 
covered with a superior species of matting, here 
called Egyptian.* As to furniture, there was 
none, unless we extend that appellation to a 
boarded seat, raised about fifteen inches from the 
floor, and carried around three sides of the room ; 
this, covered by fine woollen cloth, and supplied 
with an abundance of cushions, bears the name 
of divan, and forms no bad substitute for a sofa 
to him who would take a siesta, or smoke a 
tchibouque. 

An Arabic inscription was painted in black 
letters over the door, to preserve the inmates 

* Most probably made in Circassia, as J subsequently met 
with a similar description of matting in that country, from 
whence it is exported in large quantities to Turkey. 







112 VISIT TO THE PACHA. 

from the evil eye ; and a few verses from the 
Koran ornamented the walls. The whole taste 
and ingenuity were expended on the ceiling, 
which was curiously wrought in tessellated wood- 
work ; and being evidently recently painted in 
blue and gold, in the arabesque style, had a 
very pretty effect. 

I had almost forgotten to mention, that my kind 
host, finding I was about to extend my travels 
through the neighbouring provinces, furnished 
me with a teskerSy which he said would every- 
where insure me, not only a hospitable recep- 
tion from the Osmanlis, but horses for travelling ; 
and by presenting it to the aghas of every town 
and village, it would^ oblige them to procure me 
a night's quarter, provisions, &c. — a document 
of no little value, when we remember that, with 
the exception of the capital and a few of the 
large commercial towns, there is not a single 
hotel or inn, for the accommodation of the tra- 
veller, to be found in the Turkish empire ; for 
that uncomfortable substitute, yclept a khan, 
ministers in no other way to the necessities of 
the tourist, than to afford shelter from the in- 
clemencies of the weather. 



EXCURSION, &C. 113 



LETTER XIL 

CHANAK-KALBSI — JOURNEY TO TROT — TURKISH HORSES-^ 
HUNGARIAN TRAVELLING COMPANION — VISIT TO OUR 
CONSUL, MR. LANDOR-— ASPECT OP THE COUNTRY— APATHY 
OP THE TURKS— SERIOUS INDISPOSITION OP MY COMPA- 
NION — KNAVISH SURIDJI — SCAMANDER^** BOURNARBASHI 
HOUSE OP THE AGHA MOONLIGHT PHANTOMS — HOS- 
PITABLE RECEPTION — HUNGARIAN REMEDY POR INTER- 
MITTENT PEVER — COURTESY OP THE AGHA — SITE OP 
TROY — PROSPECT PROM THE TOMB OP HECTOR. 

In my last letter, I mentioned our arrival at the 
castles of the Dardanelles. We landed at the 
town, (called by the Turks Chanak-Kalesi, from 
its potteries,) which clusters about the castle 
on the right shore : this, like every other I had 
seen in Turkey, was a filthy congregation of 
narrow lanes and pestilential alleys. It is, how- 
ever, a great resort for shipping, as vessels are 
often detained in this port for several months 
by contrary winds ; and I cannot but think that 
a few towing steam-boats stationed here would 
find constant employment, and prove a lucrative 
speculation. 

VOL. I. * I 



114 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

While our horses were preparing, we inspected 
the curiosities of the town, a most meagre collec- 
tion. The variety of costumes and features 
exhibited by the Turks, Greeks, Armenians, 
Franks, and Jews, amused us for a time ; but 
that soon passed away, and we became tired of 
observing a melange of people, who, however they 
might differ in other respects, agreed in sitting 
more than half the day upon carpets, smoking 
the eternal tchibouque. We had not even the 
pleasure of finding our own consul ; for in the 
late conflagration, that laid more than half the 
town in ashes, his dwelling was also included, 
which obliged him to take up his temporary 
residence at a village a few miles distant. 

My two countrymen and the Hungarian, to 
whom I before alluded, entertained, like myself, 
the intention of visiting the site of Troy. But 
when the wretched hacks of horses made their 
appearance, the courage of the party sank to Zero, 
— no doubt partly influenced by the feverish heat 
at which the thermometer then stood ; and of 
our little party, the brave Magyar alone consented 
to bear me company. Indeed, the pommels of 
the Turkish saddles, thejolting trot of the horses^ 
and the intermittent fever of Asia Minor, might 
well deter any man who valued his comfort and 
health, from undertaking the expedition : how- 



TO THE SITE OF TROY. 115 

ever, my curiosity and natural buoyancy of spi- 
rit overcame every consideration. Behold me, 
therefore, mounted on a saddle as broad as a 
cradle, with two loops of ropes for stirrups ; and 
these so short, that my knees nearly reach my 
chin. 

We were accompanied by a young Israelite, 
who acted the part of a dragoman and suridji ; 
and as the Magyar wore his half-military cos ' 
tume, with a brace of silver-mounted pistols in 
his girdle and a sabre by his side, we presented 
to the wondering eyes of the Osmanlis rather a 
warlike appearance. This was probably the 
reason, together with the humiliated feeling 
produced among the people by the late raccesses 
of the christian arms, that instead of being pelted 
with stones, too often the fate of former travel- 
lers, we were saluted with nothing worse than a 
few grins and hisses from the women and children. 

Our route for several hours lay along the sandy 
coast of the Dardanelles^ and at every breeze 
that blew, the mobile dust transferred itself into 
mouths, eyes, and ears : add to which, the 
scorching sun drank up all the moisture of our 
frames. Vain was every attempt we made to 
allay our thirst; but fortunately, when at its 
height, we arrived at the residence of our consul, 
Mr. Landor, who, with true English hospitality, 

I 2 



116 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

welcomed us to an excellent dinner ; and those 
only who have been placed in similar circum- 
stances, can estimate the boon at its full value. 
Our host, who had resided in this part of Turkey 
several years, amused us with a variety of anec- 
dotes of the people, to whom he appeared much 
attached : he represented them as extremely well 
conducted, crime very rarely occurring, notwith- 
standing they are only a few degrees removed 
from barbarism, and left almost entirely to their 
own guidance. Their system of police is similar 
to that I have before described as established by 
Prince Milosch in Servia. 

After leaving the friendly roof of my kind 
countryman, we soon lost sight of the sea, and 
journeyed onward through a most romantic coun- 
try. In one place we wandered through a narrow 
valley, bounded by gently swelling hills, clothed 
to their summits with luxuriant grass or odorife- 
rous shrubs ; then, again, cantered over a level 
sward, a perfect carpet of green velvet enamelled 
with a thousand flowers, whose balmy fragrance 
in some degree rendered endurable the scorch- 
ing rays of the sun. Numerous little fountains 
babbled down the slopes, and then meandered 
through tiny vales, on their way to swell a more 
considerable stream : nature offering to the indo- 
lent inhabitants the means of extensive irrigation. 



TO THE SITE OF TROY. 117 

) of which any people but the benighted Turks 

would most gladly avail themselves. 

In every direction was to be seen the finest 
land, if properly cultivated sufficient for the sup- 
port of a dense population ; and numerous pic- 
turesque sites, on which a hundred towns and 
villages might be erected. But, alas ! what did 
we find ? Solitude and desolation. Every step 
proclaimed the benumbing rule of the Osmanlis, 
and the few wretched inhabitants we encountered 
wore the stamp of poverty, degradation, and the 
most abject slavery. In short, the whole of the 
scattered huts we passed in our route from Cha- 
nak-Kalesi on the Dardanelles to Troy would, if 
collected together, scarcely form a moderately- 
sized village, and the fertile soil itself appeared 
as much accursed, as if the lovely heavens had 
showered down pestilence. 

With the exception of an hour spent with Mr. 
Landor, we passed the greater part of the day on 
horseback, and, either from fatigue or the great 
heat, my companion was excessively languid, and 
towards evening displayed every symptom of 
severe indisposition : writhing with pain, and faint 
vdth debility, he would gladly have lain down in 
the fields in preference to continuing his route. 
Hence, in consequence of the snail-like pace at 



118 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

which we moved forward, we did not arrive at the 
Scamander till it was quite dark ; and, to add to 
our annoyances, we found the river so swollen by 
the late rains, that our suridji declared he would 
not ford it, as he should certainly risk the loss of 
his horses. 

Now, as the glimmering lights of the little town 
of Boumarbashi were distinctly visible on the 
opposite side of the river, and evidently at no 
greater distance than a quarter of a mile, the 
intelligence, to an exhausted invalid and a hungry 
man, was certainly anything but gratifying. 
Feeling, however, assured that the object of our 
knavish guide was to extort money, and being 
equally con6dent that I could swim across a much 
broader river, even if it was too deep to ford, I 
resolved upon making the experiment. I there-* 
fore sought a spot marked by the tracks of horses' 
hoofs, which would indicate that the natives 
were accustomed to use it ; for remember that 
this country is entirely destitute of any road, 
save those made by the Romans. I soon met 
with the desired passage, when I dashed into the 
stream, and found, thanks to the taste of the 
Turks for short stirrups, that I should reach the 
opposite shore perfectly dry. My companion 
mustered courage enough to follow my example ; 



TO THE SITE OF TROY. 119 

but, alas ! by the time we reached Bournarbashi, 
the stars were twinkling in the heavens, instead 
of the lights in the windows. 

We rode to the house of the agha, to which 
we had been recommended by the consul, Mr. 
Landor. However^ as these primitive people 
had resigned themselves to repose soon aflter sun- 
set, we found the whole of the inmates in the 
land of dreams. Not contemplating the prospect 
of sleeping on the stones with any degree of 
satisfaction, we knocked loudly at the door ; when 
we received as a response the chorus of half a 
dozen dogs in the court-yard, and the united 
howl of all the curs in the town. Such an uproar 
could not fail to rouse the inmates from their 
slumbers ; but instead of popping their night- 
capped heads out of the windows, as would have 
been the case in Europe, a party of iair dames 
made their appearance, parading the house-top, 
enveloped in long flowing garments muffled to 
the eyes, looking precisely like so many ghosts. 

The ladies immediately and peremptorily in- 
formed us that we could not be admitted, as the 
agha was absent. This I knew to be the common 
pretence made use of to get rid of strangers in 
Turkey ; and as the door had already given way 
beneath our repeated thundering, we entered, well 
knowing that the presence of a Giaour would soon 



120 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

conjure up at least the spectre of an agha^ how- 
ever distant he might be in propria persond. 
The plan succeeded ; for the lord of the mansion 
and his attendants immediately made their appear- 
ance, and a comfortable supper was soon served, 
consisting of a fowl stewed with gourds, a pilaff, 
fine olives, dried fruit, and excellent bread com- 
posed of wheat and maize. 

My first care was, however, devoted to my 
travelling-companion, who had thrown himself on 
the divan, absolutely writhing with suflfering. 
Upon requesting to know what I should procure 
for him, he begged me to infuse a large dose 
of cayenne pepper in half a pint of strong wine 
or brandy; when, strange to say, the fiery draught 
acted like a charm, and restored him immedi- 
ately, not only to health, but to a comparatively 
good appetite. This strong stimulant, the baron 
informed me^ had cured him more than once of an 
intermittent fever, of which disease he felt con- 
vinced he had just suffered an incipient attack. 
When supper was ended, we availed ourselves 
of the cushions and coverings with which the 
divan was plentifully supplied, and soon forgot 
all our troubles and inconveniences. 

Whether in consequence of the recommenda- 
tions of our consul, or through gratitude for the 
douceurs we had presented to the attendants, I 



TO THE SITE OF TROY. 121 

cannot pretend to determine ; but certain it is, the 
agha evinced towards us the most marked cour- 
tesy, and not only provided an excellent break- 
fast, but mounted his horse and accompanied us 
the next morning on our exploring expedition. 
This shows that either a decided improvement has 
taken place in the feeling of this people towards 
the Giaours, or that gold has a powerful effect in 
softening bigotry. At all events, it is to be 
hoped that future travellers, whose curiosity shall 
lead them to visit these countries, may, through 
the influence of one or the other, be allowed to 
pursue their way without molestation, which un- 
fortunately has not hitherto been the case. Our 
agha guide pointed out the various eminences 
and sites which tradition and the writings of the 
ancients have connected with the history of Troy, 
with which he seemed perfectly familiar, and, 
for a Turk, well informed and communicative. 

Before I left Troy, I rode to the extensive 
ruins of the Alexandrian Troy, near Eski Stam- 
boul ; visited the islands of Lesbos and Tenedos, — 
lands celebrated in the annals of love and art, for 
they were the countries of Sappho and Alcseus ; 
bathed in the crystal stream of the Scamander, 
where the royal sisters of the heroic Hector 
washed their garments; and traced the classic 
Simois to its source in the mountains, from 



122 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

whence I ascended Mount Ida, the abode of the 
gods. In short, there was not a single locality 
of interest, associated with the history of Troy, 
that I did not repeatedly visit. 

Unless I were convinced that you are not one 
of those incredulous matter-of-fact men, who 
doubt the existence of everything not suscep- 
tible of demonstration, I should spare you the 
repetition of my feelings and impressions when 
I visited that classic region, and of the delight 
I experienced in wandering along the banks of 
the lovely streams that fertilise the Trojan plain. 
Here that city once stood which has been im- 
mortalised, not by the perishable sculptor or the 
crumbling column, but by the eternal verses of 
Homer ; and although not one stone of that 
celebrated city now stands upon another, not one 
fragment of its palaces remains to tell of its gran- 
deur, not even a trace is left of its existence, 
save in the writings of the ancients ; yet do not 
these contain sufficient evidence to convince the 
unprejudiced mind, that on the site once occupied 
by the heroic Troy, the miserable village of 
Boumarbashi is now built? 

For myself, as I most piously believe every 
sentence of the historical details of the Iliad, it 
was indeed a pleasure to link every surrounding 
object with some event in Trojan history, and to 



TO THE SITE OF TROT. 123 

recal to my imagination the glorious deeds of the 
great heroes of antiquity ; and though the sapient 
pedant may pity me for revelling in delusion, yet 
I may equally compassionate him for being 
chained too closely to realities. 

I went over the ground, with Homer for my 
guide ; and if the Iliad had only been written 
yesterday, the site, the various mounds, emi- 
nences, and rivers^ could not have been more 
accurately described. There is the identical 
plain between the Hellespont and Mount Ida's 
encircling chain^ at whose base is situated Bour- 
narbashi, exactly nine miles from the shore. 

We also find the source of the Scamander 
close to the town, near the city gate of Troy, 
called Scean, precisely as the bard described it : 
besides many other corroborative circumstances, 
which it would be tedious to enumerate. Again, 
how admirably adapted was this site for that of a 
great city, — a fine luxuriant plain, watered by 
fertilising rivers communicating with the sea, and 
no doubt navigable for the small vessels then in 
use. The abundant springs of pure water, which 
here have their source in an immense rock, would 
also supply an additional inducement to the 
wandering tribes of old, with their flocks and 
herds, to select this spot on which to pitch their 
tents. 



124 EXCURSION FROM THE DARDANELLES 

As a proof that the siege of Troy was not a 
creation of the bard of antiquity, did not Alex- 
ander the Great visit it, and offer up sacrifices to 
the gods on the tomb of Achilles ? At a later 
period, did not Csesar make a pilgrimage to this 
spot, hallowed by deeds of heroism ? when, it is 
recorded, considerable remains of the city still 
existed ; and the opinion is very generally enter- 
tained, that Alexandria Troas was principally 
built from the ruins of its namesake. 

On an eminence above Bournarbashi stands 
the tomb of Hector, supposed to be the Perga- 
mus : it is unlike every other of the tumuli found 
here, which consists of earth only, and may be 
compared to a pyramid of disjointed stones. 
This tomb is well worthy of a visit, were it only 
for the enjoyment of the superb prospect it com- 
mands over the surrounding country. The Sca- 
mander and the Simois are seen meandering 
through the plain beneath, bounded in the far 
distance by the Thracian mountains in Europe 
and the promontory of Segeum, now called Cape 
Janissary. It also includes a slight glimpse of the 
Hellespont, appearing like an arrowy river, toge- 
ther with the consecrated tumuli on its banks, oc- 
cupying, according to Homer, precisely the same 
spot as did the camp of the Greeks during the 
siege of Troy. In the centre of this interesting 



TO THE SITE OF TROY. 125 

picture we see elevated the mound which bears 
the name of Ilus, and a little to the right the 
gigantic tomb of Cesutus; while in the back 
ground, towering above all, rises Mount Ida, 
with its snow-crowned pinnacle Gargara, from 
whence the gods themselves regarded with asto- 
nishment the heroic deeds of man ! 



126 VOYAGE FROM THE DARDANELLES 



LETTER XIII. 

HBLLB8PONT — SCENERY — AUSTRIAN STEAM-BOAT — PASSEN- 
GERS SEA OF MARMORA— ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY — 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON ARRIVING AT STAMBOUL— ITS 
SPLENDOUB AND POVERTY — CANINE SCAVENGERS— ME- 
LANCHOLY INSTANCE OF THBIE VORACITY — THE SUBURB 

GALATA—- TURKISH CEMETERY SUBURB OF PERA — GREEK 

BOARDING-HOUSE — ENGLISH INl^ATES. 

The scenery on the banks of the blue sea of Hel- 
las fell far short of my expectations, for most of 
the descriptions given by travellers of its beauties 
are exaggerated ; even the elegant lines of Byron, 
in his Bride of Ahydos, are more applicable to the 
Bosphorus than to these scorched, half-barren 
shores. No doubt the tourist, on first arriving in 
this classic strait, is prepossessed in its favour, 
and regards every object through the medium 
with which his own imagination has invested it ; 
for he remembers that it is immortalised, not only 
by the hapless lover Leander and our own delight- 
ful Byron, but the glorious exploit of 1806, when 
our brave mariners passed the whole of the bat- 



TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 127 

teries in defiance of a discharge of cannon which 
might have sunk a navy. 

If this deed of daring' could then have been per- 
formed with so' little danger, how much more 
practicable would it now be with the aid of steam- 
boats ! Besides, nothing could be easier than to 
capture any of the batteries by land, their whole 
strength being on the sea-side ; and then silence 
the other by the guns of its opposite neighbour. 

But to return to our obseryations on the 
scenery. To be sure, there is the fine rushing 
stream with a succession of picturesque castles 
bristling with cannon, the curious red-painted 
villas and chiosks of the Turks rising here and 
there in the midst of gardens blooming with 
orchards, olives,[and vineyards, the swelling dome 
of the mosque and the slender white minaret 
mingling their graceful forms with the dark green 
of the towering cypress. All these are very 
pretty things, and novel to the European tra- 
veller ; but they are not su£5lcient to form the sub- 
lime scenes which we had promised to our hopes. 

At Chanah-Kalesi I found the Austrian steam- 
packet, the Maria Dorothea, commanded by Cap- 
tain Ford, a gentleman in every respect superior 
to most of his brethren with whom it has been my 
lot to travel : the ofi&cer, however, was more de- 
sei-ving of commendation than his vessel, which. 



128 VOYAGE FROM THE DARDANELLES 

being only one of seventy-horse power, was too 
small for a sea-boat, and shipped, at the slightest 
breeze, quantities of water ; but, in some degree 
to counterbalance this inconvenience, the accom- 
modations were extremely good. 

I found the deck literally covered with passen- 
gers ; and truth to say, it required no little care 
so to pick my way as not to incommode them, for 
nearly the whole two hundred were seated, or, 
to use the right word, squatted on their carpets. 
These consisted of a melange of the different 
oriental tribes that we everywhere find in this 
country, together with a few Franks ; their variety 
of costume was infinite, especially in the form 
and colour of their turbans ; for though the higher 
ranks and military men have renounced this mode 
of head-dress, yet it is still very generally re- 
tained by the mass of the population of the pro- 
vinces. This motley assemblage, who would 
have required the pencil of a Wilkie to do them 
justice, were enjoying their long tchibouques, or 
removing from their garments certain creeping 
tormentors, which in warm countries are sure to 
be the companions of those who are not very 
cleanly in their persons. 

Instead, however, of the ruthless slaughter I 
have seen perpetrated on similar occasions in 
Christendom, the more merciful disciple of Ma- 




TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 129 

iiomet, contented with ridding himself of the nui- 
sance, was quite careless as to the fate of his 
neighbour ; for the little plagues were quietly- 
placed upon the deck, and left to the full enjoy- 
ment of life and liberty. But this boon, though 
no doubt very agreeable to them, was not so to 
the few Franks on board, who regarded with dis- 
may a process so likely to people their garments 
with an unwelcome population. 

The Frank passengers consisted of merchants 
flying from the plague, which now raged with 
great virulence at Smyrna, a town at no time 
remarkable for its salubrity, from which cause 
probably arose the circumstance of which these 
gentlemen informed me : namely, that such was 
the malignity of the cholera when it desolated 
this unlucky town, that hundreds of persons were 
swept into eternity in five minutes after the 
attack of the epidemic. 

Aided by steam, we overcame both the impetu- 
osity of the current and a stiff breeze in our teeth ; 
and gliding rapidly along, soon passed Gallipoli, 
now only interesting as being the fatal spot on 
which the Turk first planted the Crescent in Eu- 
rope. We then entered the magnificent basin of 
the Propontis, usually called the Sea of Marmora, 
from the island of the same name. The country 
on the Asiatic side possessed a few poetic features, 

VOL. I. K 



130 VOYAGE FROM THE DARDANELLES 

but the scenery in general was neither picturesque 
nor romantic; and the few towns and villages 
were so miserable as to render the aspect still 
more gloomy, which was only relieved by the dis- 
tant prospect of Mount Olympus, whose snowy 
ridge, even divested of its classical associations, 
formed a sublime feature in the landscape. 

Indeed, everything considered, the approach 
to Stamboul by the sea of Marmora is far less 
striking than that by the Bosphorus ; for it is not 
till we have doubled the point where the seraglio 
is erected, and enter the Golden Horn, that the 
magical panorama of the Ottoman capital bursts 
upon the view. The attention of the traveller is 
immediately arrested by its peculiarly favourable 
situation, appearing alike calculated to give laws 
to the world, or to engross its commerce. The 
straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, if 
properly fortified, and defended with only mode- 
rate courage, might bid defiance to any attack by 
sea ; and its fine bay, the Golden Horn, sheltered 
from every wind, is sufficiently deep and capa- 
cious to receive the ships of every maritime 
nation in the world. By the same narrow chan- 
nels, she commands at once the trade of the 
north and the south ; and when the canal, now 
in progress to unite the Danube with the Rhine, 
shall be completed^ the merchant of Constanti- 



TO CONSTANTINOPLE. 131 

nople will then possess a secure medium of 
transit for the luxuries of the east to Hungary, 
Germany, and the capital of Great Britain. 

Yet, though blessed with all these advantages, 
in addition to a climate the most delightful, and 
a soil producing all that can cheer life, we find 
the inhabitants miserable ; and instead of an opu- 
lent commercial city, the poorest metropolis in 
the world. Never, indeed, were a people more 
blind to their interests than the Turks ; when, by 
the exercise of only a moderate share of common 
sense and industry, they might have poured into 
their capital the riches of the earth. That the 
Russians should be desirous to establish them- 
selves at Constantinople can be no matter of sur- 
prise ; and we must almost feel astonished at the 
forbearance of the young emperor, when con- 
queror of Adrianople, that he did not march 
forward and secure the glorious prize, even at 
the hazard of a general European war. 

Having contemplated for some time, with feel- 
ings of the warmest admiration, this most pictu- 
resque of all cities ; having glanced from palace 
to seraglio ; from mosque and minaret to chiosk 
and brightly painted summer villas; from cy- 
press, plane, and vine-clad hills, to the mysteri- 
ous recesses of Scutari's interminable cemetery, 
the romantic acclivities of Bulgurlu, and the 

K 2 



1 32 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

blue mountains of Asia Minor; I reluctantly 
stepped into the light cdik^ and darted rapidly 
across the Golden Horn to Pera, the infidel sub- 
urb of proud Stamboul. 

But whoever would paint the horrors of semi- 
barbarism in their most vivid colours, has only to 
land, and wade through the abominations of this 
den of disease. How sincerely I regretted that 
I could not have remained for ever in a blissful 
dream respecting its beauty, for all the promises 
held out by its external appearance were most 
glaringly falsified. 

I found myself, on landing, in narrow unpaved 
streets, covered with every imaginable descrip- 
tion of filth and dirt. Then the caninepopulation : 
here thousands of lazy, mangy curs, their wolf- 
like aspect rendered still fiercer by hunger, lay 
in the middle of the streets, exactly in the spot 
over which the passenger must pass. These 
wretched animals, being considered by the Turks 
unclean, are left without a master or a home, 
their only shelter being the gateways and benches, 
and their only sustenance the miserable food they 
can find in the streets ; and even this is disputed 
by the vultures, who hover over the town in 
numbers, constantly on the watch for prey. 

When it happens, which is not unfrequently 
the case, that the dogs by their utmost industry 



CONSTilNTlNOPLE. 133 

can only procure scanty gleanings, they send 
forth such loud and repeated howlings, that a 
Frank feels much inclined to extend towards 
them a wish similar to that uttered by the ten- 
der-hearted Nero for his beloved subjects. As 
these Stamboul plagues are infected with the true 
Turkish antipathy to Giaours, they seldom fail to 
attack every christian stranger, inflicting on some 
occasions the most serious injury. A melancholy 
instance of their ferocity is related by the inhiabi- 
tants of Pera, which occurred not long since. A 
Frenchman, the master of a brig, having spent the 
evening with a friend, set out after nightfall on 
his return to his ship, at anchor in the port ; but 
whether he had called to visit a friend, lost his 
way, or indulged too freely in the juice of the 
grape, is not known : certain it is, that the next 
morning all that remained of the miserable man 
were his bones and attire. 

Throughout the whole of this city and its 
suburbs, there is nothing that deserves the name 
of a street, narrow lanes being their legitimate 
appellation. In that quarter called Galata, the 
great resort of the maritime population, we sel- 
dom meet with any other specimens of humanity 
than drunken sailors, or boys and women of the 
most degraded class ; who may be seen issuing 
out of cabarets which emit such unsavoury exha- 



] 34 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

latioDs, that it would be difficult to find their 
parallel in any other part of the world. Such 
are the objects that meet the vision of a stranger 
on his fii*8t landing. 

To arrive at Pera, I was obliged to pass 
through the Turkish champs des mortSj a dense 
grove of gloomy cypresses, crowded with white 
tombstones ; and as these are adorned with im- 
mense turbans, they now appeared, enveloped in 
the shades of evening, exactly like a host of 
ghosts glaring from their shadowy recesses. 

On entering Pera, I was somewhat relieved by 
the aspect of a few clean houses, and open shops 
filled with European manufactures. This is the 
principal quarter appropriated to the residence of 
the rich Franks, and, although the cleanest and 
best built of all the suburbs, is still a miserable 
place, and more deserves the name of a labyrinth, 
so totally destitute is it of the slightest preten- 
sions to regularity. Most of the large houses 
look like wooden barracks, and the late fire gave 
the whole suburb a peculiarly desolate aspect. 

Here are situated the houses, or rather sheds, 
of the ambassadors ; for as the greater number of 
their mansions were burnt, they now reside at 
their country-houses, in the pretty villages of 
Therapia and Buyukderfe. In this quarter we 
find two or three Greek and Italian inns ; of these 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 36 

the principal is the European hotel, but the Eng- 
lish generally prefer residing at the pensionat of 
M. Giusepino, in the Strada Santa Maria. The 
charge is a ducat per day, which includes a very 
good breakfast, dinner with a bottle of wine, tea, 
and a sleeping-room ; and when compared with 
the other dirty inns and lodging-houses, it can- 
not be too highly recommended. 

I had the pleasure to find domiciliated at Giu- 
sepino's a pleasant party of English travellers, 
including my friend Mr. Newton, together with 
Colonel Considine and several British officers 
who had come to Constantinople in consequence 
of an invitation from the Turkish government, for 
the purpose of instructing the troops in European 
tactics. But unfortunately, a short time previous 
to their arrival, occurred the unlucky affair of 
Mr. Churchill, which had so materially inter- 
rupted the harmony between the Ottoman Porte 
and the British legation. Hence it was doubtful 
whether the officers would be employed : they 
had, however, been most cordially received by 
the Seraskier Pacha, the minister of war. 



136 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XIV. 

A RAMBLB THROUGH STAMBOUL — PATROL INFLAMMABLB 

NATURR OP THE BUILDINGS — BAZAARS MERCHANTS — TRI- 
PLING REMAINS OF ANTIQUITY — AQUEDUCT— THE TOWER 
OP LBANDER — LEGEND ATTACHED TO IT — BEAUTY OP THE 
CAIKS — BOATMEN — VALLEY OP SWEET WATERS — ITS 
MIASMA — TURKISH PROMENADE — GAY ASSEMBLY — TURKISH 
LADIES — UNHEALTHY ASPECT OP THE POPULATION — 
CAUSES OP THE INSALUBRITY OP CONSTANTINOPLE. 

The da)^ after my arrival, I proceeded to view 
Constantinople, its suburbs and adjacent villages, 
more in detail ; and though I cannot pretend to 
give you any other than a slight sketch, yet I 
will not fail to particularise those objects which 
have most interested me. This city is altogether 
unlike any other I have ever seen ; the houses 
are, for the most part, only one story high, and 
the silence that pervades a capital, in which so 
large a concourse of human beings are congre- 
gated, is gloomy and depressing. As for carts 
and carriages rolling through the streets, there 
are none, with the exception of a few vehicles 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 137 

called ar abacs, drawn by buffaloes, at a hearse-like 
pace, in which the Turkish women^ the greater 
number still veiled to the eyes, take the air. 

The only sounds that interrupt the stillness, 
are the cries of the itinerant venders of sweet- 
meats and sherbets, or the muezzin calling the 
faithful to prayer from the tops of the minarets. 
These are succeeded at night by the howling 
and barking of dogs, the screams of vultures, and 
the patrol striking the stones with their iron- 
shod staves, and shouting with all the force of 
their lungs, " YangenrarT fire ! fire ! for scarcely 
a night passes in which a fire does not occur 
in some part of this most inflammable city. 

Nor can we feel surprised at this, when we 
remember that the whole town, with the excep- 
tion of the mosques and a few government ofiices, 
is built of wood. Yet, strange to say, although 
this dreadful scourge has repeatedly reduced the 
greater part of this unfortunate capital to ruins, 
these infatuated people still continue to construct 
their dwellings of the same material : neither do 
they make the slightest alteration in the archi- 
tecture, but proceed to erect upon the same spot 
a duplicate of its predecessor. 

The most amusing places for passing an idle 
half hour are the bazaars. These consist of long 
ranges of galleries, or arcades, so extensive as to 



1 38 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

resemble a city within a city ; they are appro- 
priated to the sale of every description of mer- 
chandise, from a diamond-ring to a pipe-bowl, 
from a Cachmire shawl to a carpet. In the 
merchants we find every variety of costume, 
manners, and language. 

The Turk may be at once recognised by the 
gravity of his demeanour : squatted on his coun- 
ter, he quietly smokes his tchibouque, and most 
leisurely transfers his wares to such customers as 
will purchase them. 

The Armenian is distinguished by the cheerful, 
or, as the Frank construes it, designing smile on 
his countenance : he is taciturn, patient, civil, yet 
wily as a serpent, and generally wealthy. How 
different from the noisy, mercurial Greek, on 
approaching whose stall you are assailed with a 
torrent of eloquence, describing the excellence 
of his merchandise : each separate article is ex- 
hibited, and its perfections most volubly set forth ; 
but the traveller must be aware of giving credence 
to his representations, for he is generally a cheat. 

The aspect of the oppressed, humiliated He- 
brew, is here very different from that of his 
happier brethren in our own more tolerant land. 
Accustomed from infancy to contumely and scorn, 
he is patient, mild, and forbearing. Obliged to 
perform the office of interpreter between the 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 39 

Turks and Franks in all their bargains, he is 
generally acquainted with seven or eight lan- 
guages ; but speaks none correctly, and always 
with the nasal accent peculiar to this people in 
every part of the world. It is, indeed, very dif- 
ficult to comprehend him ; however, by calling in 
the aid of pantomime, he generally succeeds, 
when he is often no better rewarded by the 
haughty Turk than with every insulting epithet. 

Few are the vestiges now existing of the once 
glorious city of Constantine ; and in seeking for 
the remains of his sumptuous palace, we find no- 
thing more dignified than the cattle-market, the 
mosque of San Sophia being the only edifice that 
has survived the devastation of war and the rule 
of the Osinanlis. The seraglio, rather an im- 
posing building, is said to occupy a large portion 
of the site of the ancient Byzantium ; and the 
Hippodrome, the race-course of the Greeks, now 
the Atmeidan (Champs de Mars) of the Turks, is 
only interesting for having in its centre an Egyp- 
tian obelisk, together with the famous brazen 
column composed of three spiral serpents, which 
the butchering barbarians have thought proper 
to decapitate. 

The aqueduct still exists, and still supplies 
Stamboul with water, as it did in the days of the 
conquerors of the world ; and, whether viewed 



140 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

from the Bosphorus or its shores, forms a very 
beautiful feature in the landscape. The splendid 
bath, with its hundred marble pillars, so long 
hidden under the ruins of the once-proud city, 
has again seen the light. These are the only 
lions of antiquity to be found in Stamboul at the 
present day, with the exception of the celebrated 
Tour de Leandre, or, as the Turks more appro- 
priately call it, Kiz-Koulesi, the Tower of the 
Maiden, which is more romantic for its legend 
than its form, although it has the advantage of 
being built upon a rock in the midst of the 
rapid Bosphorus. 

Do not, however, suppose that this tower is in 
any way connected, with the current-daring lover 
of Hero. No; for tradition tells us that this 
singular structure was erected by one '^of the 
early emperors of Byzantium, solely for the pro- 
tection of a very beautiful daughter ; of whom it 
was prophesied at her birth, that she should die 
by the sting of a serpent. With the hope of 
eluding the prediction, the fond father had this 
isolated tower erected for her habitation, and her 
various wants supplied from his own palace. But 
Destiny, who is very obstinate in accomplishing 
her purposes, blinded the vigilance of the attend- 
ants ; for they allowed an asp, concealed in a 
bouquet of flowers, to fulfil the decrees of her 
inexorable fate. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 14 1 

Finding but little amusement in perambulating 
the dreary, half-deserted streets of Constanti- 
nople, or in watching the porpoise-like march of 
the slowly-moving Turk, or his lady-phantom 
closely enveloped in the ample folds of the yash- 
macky I entered my cdiky resolving to ascertain 
if the environs afforded more variety and anima- 
tion. These boats, the most beautiful work of a 
Turk's hand, are extremely elegant, measure 
about thirty feet long, and from two to three in 
breadth. They are generally built of oak or 
chesnut, fancifully carved and varnished : the 
prow is sharply pointed with iron, and cuts through 
the water with the velocity of an arrow. They 
are somewhat perilous to strangers, for, by a very 
slight inclination to either side, they lose their 
equilibrium ; this the Turks generally preserve, 
by lying down in the centre. 

Thousands of these pretty little barks may be 
seen skimming from shore to shore, varying in 
dimensions, and calculated to hold from four to 
eight persons. The more wealthy of the inhabi- 
tants here, like those of Venice, substitute a boat 
for a carriage ; the rowers being also employed 
as servants. 

The boatmen, who are said to amount to up- 
wards of sixty thousand, are a very fine race 
of men, and usually under thirty years of age. 



142 CONSTANTINOPLE, 

Their costume tends not a little to improve their 
personal appearance : the folds of their white Cos- 
sack trowsers are confined at the waist by a silk 
shawl; a sort of silk shirt, open at the throat, and 
displaying the fine contour of the neck and chest, 
with very full sleeves only descending to the el- 
bow, completes their dress, — except a red woollen 
cap, surmounted by a blue silk tassel, which^ when 
waving in the wind, imparts a very graceful effect 
to the tout ensemble. 

My first aquatic excursion was to the romantic 
Kiat-hane, or, as the Franks call it, " les Eaux 
Douces, " the favouritepromenade of the Stambouli 
beau mondey and so frequently described by travel- 
lers as the most lovely of all the lovely spots in the 
immediate vicinity of the capital. We soon shot 
through the beautiful bay of the Golden Horn, 
and ascended the Barbyses, which slowly glides 
through a narrow valley, lined on either side by 
romantic hills. Myriads of wild bees, and butter- 
flies of every shade and colour, were then mur- 
muring in the long grass on its verdant banks, or 
revelling among the roses and other flowers of the 
garden ; while those poetical birds, the turtle- 
dove and the stork, so characteristic of the land 
of the east, vied with each other in their tender 
endearments of love, and made the groves of 
cypresses resound with their incessant cooing. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 143 

In addition to all this, there are the two pretty 
chiosks belonging to the great Padishah himself. 
Who then will refuse to acknowledge that Kiat- 
hane is a very delightful place — brilliant like a 
glimpse of paradise ? But all light has its shade, 
and this place, although called by the attractive 
name of * * the Valley of Sweet Waters," yet 
might with equal tnith be termed the valley of 
death ; for, treacherous as the serpent in the 
grass, while its beautiful scenery charms the 
senses, its poisonous miasma insidiously creeps 
through the veins, inoculates the frame with dis- 
ease» and not unfrequently with death. 

This is owing to the situation of the valley at 
the confluence of the two small stagnant marshy 
rivers, the Barbyses and the Cydares ; and being 
a long narrow defile between lofty hills, that com- 
pletely exclude the purifying summer winds from 
the Euxine, the mephitic vapours generated are 
so extremely noxious, that fever is certain to 
be the portion of him who slumbers within their 
influence, or prolongs his stay in the *^ Valley of 
Sweet Waters !" after sunset. 

I have already said that the aspect of the sur- 
rounding country was romantic and picturesque : 
this was improved by flocks of sheep, and herds 
of cattle and horses, quietly grazing on the sloping 
meadows, attended by Bulgarian shepherds play- 



144 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

iog their doleful ditties on their still more doleful 
pipes, and as primitive in their costume and man- 
ners as if they had just arrived from the wilds of 
Tartary. In addition to these, droves of buffa- 
loes were wallowing in the mire on the banks of 
the rivers, and hundreds of the inhabitants of 
Constantinople enjoying the bright sun of a day 
in June. 

Here the Turks, seated upon carpets beneath 
the cool shade of fine plane trees, were smoking 
their eternal tchibouques : there, in separate 
groups, Armenian, Turkish, Grecian, and Jewish 
women, in their respective costumes, were pro- 
menading and smoking amidst groves of cypresses, 
intermingled with equestrians mounted on Ara- 
bian horses richly caparisoned, and carriages, of 
which I can give you no better idea than to say 
that they resembled gilded cages covered with 
scarlet cloth, and fitted up with cushions ; the 
whole forming a picture perfectly oriental. Num- 
bers of jesters performing their grotesque antics, 
together with itinerant musicians, dancing-girls, 
fortune-tellers, venders of sweetmeats, sherbet, 
and coffee, mulatto servants and sable eunuchs, 
contributed to the variety and animation of the 
scene. I was informed that many of the ladies 
I saw unveiled were Turkish ; and it appears, in 
compliance with the wishes of the Sultan, this 



CONSTANTINOrLE. 145 

innovation upon the laws of the harem is daily 
becoming more general. 

I confess, I think that travellers have somewhat 
overrated the beauty and peculiar attraction of the 
women in Constantinople. Through the kindness 
of ray Turkish friends, I had moie than once the 
honour of partaking of an entertainment served 
by the women of my host unveiled ; and certainly, 
so far as regards the transparent paleness of their 
complexions and the delicate outline of their re- 
gular features, contrasted with the darkest hair, 
aud eyes soft and black as the gazelle*s, they are 
very lovely women : but there is a total want of 
vivacity, sentiment, and intelligence in their ex- 
pression ; and however becoming their dress may 
be in -doors, when divested of the ill-shaped wrap- 
per, yet this, together with the veil bound over 
the face, which is only partially abandoned, so 
completely envelopes their forms when taking the 
air, that grace and elegance are totally out of the 
question. Nor do their yellow leather boots, or 
slipshod slippers, by any means add to the beauty 
of their feet ; which little supporters every oriental 
woman that I ever beheld invariably turns inward, 
— a practice no doubt originated by the position 
in which they are accustomed to sit. 

Some of the Grecian women, in their pretty 
turbaned head-dresses, I thought handsome ; but 

VOL. 1. L 



146 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

even these had, in common with the whole of the 
Constantinople population, a pallid tint, which 
plainly told that this capital is not healthy : and, 
indeed, whoever has contemplated the swampy 
tracts in its neighbourhood, will find no difficulty 
in explaining at least one of the causes. 

Let us regard the muddy streams that flow into 
the Propontis and the Golden Horn, obstructed 
at their mouths and dilated into morasses ; the 
putrid lake of Nicea, the fertile swamps of 
Bythnia, and the stagnant ponds at Belgrade ; 
and we cannot feel surprised, when the wind 
brings the effluvia from any of these marshes into 
the pent-up channel of the Golden Horn and the 
narrow dirty lanes of Stamboul, that disease 
invariably follows. 

Still, if an industrious, intelligent people occu- 
pied the country, this evil might be easily reme- 
died by judicious draining. Not that this cause 
of insalubrity, however prolific, is its only origin ; 
for it may be more clearly traced to the dirty, 
filthy habits of the inhabitants, who, enervated 
by excesses, become the ready recipients of ma- 
laria. 

The passing stranger might deem the Turks, 
from their repeated ablutions and frequent use of 
the bath, a cleanly people. No such thing ; for 
though these practices, so far as they go, deserve 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 147 

commendation, yet their wearing apparel is sel- 
dom changed, and still more seldom washed : 
add to which, the virtue of cleanliness is totally 
disregarded in their towns, for the narrow streets 
have no other scavengers than the vultures and 
dogs. Sewers are totally unknown, and the car- 
casses of such animals as may happen to die, re- 
main in the public thoroughfare till the above- 
mentioned scavengers find leisure and appetite 
to consume them ; and should they happen to be 
bulky, such as camels, donkeys, or horses, I have 
more than once seen a narrow lane impassable. 

Another most pernicious practice is, that the 
butchers are permitted to make the streets their 
slaughter-houses : hence, when all these com- 
bined horrors of dirt and laziness are considered, 
it appears an inevitable result that an epidemic 
should invariably assume the most malignant 
form . We may therefore rest assured , that marsh 
malaria is not the only scourge that is gradually 
depopulating these countries ; it being only se- 
condary to the mischief produced by decomposed 
animal matter, which, aided by a predisposed 
state of the atmosphere, is, according to the opi- 
nion of the best-informed medical men (domicili- 
ated in the east) with whom I conversed, the 
primary cause of the plague. It is also the rea- 
son why this dreadful malady is confined to these 

L 2 



148 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

countries, while others in similar latitudes are 
exempt ; which is further demonstrated by the 
fact, that it never prevails any length of time in 
a country where cleanliness is generally practised. 
Since the breaking out of the plague at Smyrna, 
and its rapid progress in the adjoining provinces, 
the alarm has spread to Constantinople, which 
has had the effect of reviving in the mind of the 
Sultan his intention to establish* lazarettos 
throughout the empire. As, however, the Koran 
expressly forbids its followers to stop the advances 
of the destroying angel, the determination of the 
people to obey the commands of the prophet must 
first be overcome, before we can expect to see 
this resolution acted upon. Still, as the Sultan 
has already emancipated himself from more than 
one superstitious observance, and, with a mind far 
in advance of the intellectual condition of his 
people, effected several important reforms tend- 
ing to their regeneration, a hope is raised for his 
future success. But do not fall into the error of 
supposing, that if lazarettos were established to- 
morrow, this fearfal scourge would be eradicated 
from the Turkish empire. No ; be assured the 

* Since the publication of the first edition of this work^ 
Sultan Mahmoud has succeeded, notwithstanding the opposi- 
tion of the MahoDiedan clergy, in establishing lazarettos and 
quarantine laws throughout his dominions. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 149 

germ of the disease lies iu the causes I have spe- 
cified : and the Sultan could not confer a greater 
benefit upon posterity, nor originate a plan that 
^ould more effectually banish the plague from his 
dominions, than to enforce a complete reforma- 
tion in the habits and manners of the people, 
their houses, towns, and cities. 



150 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XV. 

CLIMATE OF CONSTANTINOPLE AQUATIC EXCURSIONS PIC- 
TURESQUE APPEARANCE OF THE CITY FRANK SOCIETY — 

FEMALE SLAVE BAZAAR — ITS REPULSIVE FEATURES VALUE 

OF THE WOMEN — SCARCITY OF CIRCASSIANS I N THE MARKET. 

After the morbid details I transmitted in my last 
letter, I dare say you consider me a most pesti- 
lential fellow, and that I have given this unfa- 
vourable description of its salubrity, entirely to 
deter you from your intended visit to the capital 
of the Osmanlis. Be assured, however, that the 
traveller possessed of health and prudence may 
reside here without the slightest apprehension ; 
for though the plague too frequently prevails, 
and the malaria sometimes causes severe indis- 
position to the incautious, whether native or 
stranger, yet the mortality, when compared with 
other capitals, is not so great as might be sup- 
posed. 

Must we not therefore conclude, that the cli- 
mate is not generally prejudicial to he&lth, other- 
wise the King of Terrors, with such formidable 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 161 

allies, would ere this have swept away the entire 
population. And we must also be of the opinion, 
that if judicious sanatary laws were in force, Con- 
stantinople would be as healthy as the most salu- 
brious city in Europe. 

But how are these innovating ordinances to be 
established among a people, who are taught from 
the cradle to regard with contempt every usage 
that emanates from Christians, and every attempt 
to imitate them represented by their ignorant 
fanatic priests as the most sinful impiety. Still it 
must be confessed, that to render the town salu- 
brious would be a somewhat expensive under- 
taking ; for it must first be burnt to ashes in order 
to destroy the germ of pestilence, and then re- 
built according to the most approved European 
plans. 

I shall now take leave of this dry subject, and 
conduct you with me in my aquatic excursions, 
which, after all, are the great charm of this city ; 
and, indeed, nothing can be more delightful than 
to be seated in one of these pretty fairy barks, 
which in elegance far surpass the funereal gon- 
dolas of Venice, and are infinitely superior to any- 
thing we have in England. 

How often have I glided over the clear blue 
waves of the Golden Horn from Galata to Scu- 
tari, from Buyukdere and Therapia on the Bos- 



152 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

phorus, to the lovely Grecian Islands of Prinkipo 
in the sea of Marmora, &c. In short, I rarely 
passed a day without a boating expedition, to 
which I attribute, in a great measure, the unin- 
terrupted good health I enjoyed. 

It was here, indeed, while reclining in my caik 
beneath the unclouded brilliance of a southern 
sky, that I passed the pleasantest hours of my 
residence at Stamboul ; from hence, I was accus- 
tomed to contemplate the extensive coup d'oeilof 
this mo^t picturesque city. I glanced from the 
swelling domes, resplendent spires, and crescent- 
crowned minarets, to the vast suburbs of Galata, 
Pera, and the wide-spreading Scutari, with its 
dark^roves of mournful cypresses. 

By merely making a slight curve, I came to the 
transparent Bosphorus with its verdant banks and 
pretty villages : then I turned to the seven towers 
of the sea of Marmora and the massive walls of 
the seraglio, each of which forms in itself a pic- 
ture. Then my eye wandered to the broad 
expanse of the Propontis, and the wavy outline of 
the wild heathy hills of Thrace ; from the solitary 
mountains of Asia Minor to the snowy summit of 
the sublime Olympus. These scenes, which defy 
the power of language to describe, or the skill 
of the painter to depict, constituted an unfailing 
source of pleasure during ray sojourn in a city as 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 153 

dull, with respect to amusements and society, as 
if inhabited by a community of Trappists. 

The resources of the English legation were 
wanting ; for the palace of the ambassador having 
been consumed during the late conflagration at 
Pera, his excellency is obliged to reside at pre- 
sent in the country, at Therapia, some seven or 
eight miles distant. Our worthy consul, Mr. 

C , is still there ^ but, beyond his hospitable 

roof, if the traveller is desirous of enjoying the 
society of the English and Frank merchants, he 
will be sadly disappointed ; and still more so, if 
he expects to receive any accurate information 
respecting the country ; for jarring interests on 
the one hand, and the fear of the plague on the 
other, prevent any extended intercourse. And if 
to these we add the other members of the corps 
diplomatique^ who unfortunately, from living in a 
metropolis, the very hotbed of every species of 
political intrigue, are not always on visiting terms 
with each other, I have enumerated the Frank 
society of Constantinople. 

I was, however, fortunate in having a Turkish 

friend at Stamboul : this was M Effendi , 

of whom you must have heard, or seen, when he 
resided in England, and from whose high rank in 
the divan and cultivated intellect, I now had an 
opportunity ofglcaning much valuable information 



154 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

respecting Turkey and her government. He 
kindly presented me to the Sultan, and intro- 
duced me to some of the most patriotic men in 
the empire, and also procured me many other 
advantages not usually accorded to a stranger. 
I cannot conceive why this excellent man has been 
denounced as a friend to the interests of Russia, 
for assuredly every action of his life has been de- 
voted to advance the welfare of his country ; and 
notwithstanding all that has been said to the con- 
trary, he has ever proved himself a firm advocate 
of England, and of the integrity of her policy 
towards Turkey. And those among my compa- 
triots who have enjoyed his hospitality, and 
are acquainted with the real excellencies of his 
character, will confirm the truth of what is here 
asserted respecting him. 

One of my first visits was to the bazaar for the 
sale of female slaves. Franks, if known to be 
such, are not permitted to enter ; but being 
habited in the dress of a Turkish officer, and 
accompanied by my Turkish friend, I easily 
gained admittance. This building consists of a 
large quadrangular court, two stories high, sur- 
rounded by a portico, with a gallery above : each 
story contains a range of small cells similar to 
those in a monastery. 

The ground-floor is appropriated to the copper- 



CONSTANTINOPLE, 155 

coloured daughters of Abysinuia and Degro 
women; while those above, beiug somewhat more 
elegant and airy, are reserved for the beauties 
of Circassia, Georgia, Mingrelia, Greece, &c. 
These unfortunates, for the most part pale and 
emaciated, were huddled like animals siz or seven 
together, the thermometer at the same time rang- 
ing at ninety degrees in the shade. The majority 
were gaudily attired for the purpose of heightening 
their charms, and many of them were strikingly 
beautiful. 

Several of the black women, particularly the 
Abyssinians, were remarkable for the symmetry 
of their forms and features. But how disgusting 
was it to behold every barbarian of an Osmanli 
who pretended to be a judge of female perfections, 
or the licentious libertine, examining the fea* 
tures and forms of the poor innocent wretches 
exposed for sale like herds of cattle. Really no 
scene of human wretchedness and degradation 
can equal this ; and however consonant the prac- 
tice may be to oriental manners, and those of 
other slave countries, it excited in me feelings of 
the strongest repugnance, and I sincerely re- 
gretted having gratified ray curiosity. Indeed, I 
would from my soul entreat the man who thinks 
highly of human nature, never to cross the 
threshold of a slave bazaar. 



156 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

The bare idea of selling an immortal being, — 
life, liberty, all, was absolutely revolting. I felt 
ashamed of my species, ashamed of being classed 
among beings capable of committing such a crime 
against humanity, and never gloried more in the 
name of a Briton than at that moment : I wasproud 
of my generous country, that had sacrificed mil- 
lions to eradicate this stain of barbarism from 
every land over which her flag waved. 

So strong, however, is the force of early ha- 
bits of thinking, that these unfortunate beings 
seemed indifferent to their fate ; for they laughed, 
skipped, and played together with the greatest 
cheerfulness, and even gaiety. Poor children ! 
to them ignorance was truly bliss ; for, of all that 
I beheld, there was not more than half a dozen 
that exhibited the appearance of being really 
dejected ; the majority did not even seem en* 
dowed with the faintest ray of sensibility, and 
the oldest could not have arrived at the age of 
eighteen. 

A few bargains were concluded during our 
visit ; when the little victim took up her tiny 
packet, covered her face with her white veil, 
and followed her new lord, apparently without a 
murmur. 

Their price, like that of every other commo- 
dity, is regulated by the demand and the supply. 



CONSTANTINOPLE . 1 57 

The Circassians, GeorgiaDS, and Grecians were 
the most valued, and always estimated according 
to their beauty. The two former being very diffi- 
cult to procure, on account of the strict blockade 
maintained by Russia on the Circassian coast of 
the Black Sea, now fetch as high a price as a 
hundred pounds ; a well-made and healthy Abys- 
sinian might be purchased for about thirty, while 
the poor negro woman was not considered worth 
more than ten or fifteen. 



168 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XVI. 

VISIT TO THE MOSQUES WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR — 
MOSQUE OF VALIDO — OF OSMAN III. — OF SOLYMAN THE 

MAGNIFICENT HIS TOMB MEDITATIONS OF THE SULTAN 

— MOSQUE OF BAJAZET 11.^ — INTERIOR MOSQUE OF ACH- 

MET TOMB OF SELIM II. SUPERB MSS. OF THE KORAN 

MOSQUE OF SAN SOPHIA — TURKISH FANATICISM—STYLE OF 
THE ARCHITECTURE — MOSAIC PAINTINGS — GENERAL OB- 
SERVATIONS UPON THE MOSQUES. 

Having thus given you some account of the slave 
market, I shall next conduct you to the mosques, 
which, of all the lions of Constantinople, are the 
most difficult of access to a Frank : for hovvrever 
relaxed an Osmanii may have become in the 
inveteracy of his oriental habits, and hov^ever 
desirous to conform to European fashions, yet I 
invariably found him, whether believer or sceptic, 
ever determined to seal the door of the mosque 
to the entrance of the Giaour. Nay, the very 
man who would not scruple to introduce me to 
his harem, or the most private recesses of Turkish 
life, would be proof against every solicitation to 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 169 

lend his influence in obtaining a sight of the 
interior of St. Sophia. 

In the present instance, I was indebted to 
M. Bout^nefF, the Russian ambassador, who soli- 
cited, or rather commanded the boon ; for it is 
said, that a Russian petition involuntarily assumes 
this form at Constantinople. However, be this 
as it may, the privilege was demanded and con- 
ceded, for the purpose of gratifying a Russian 
lady of high rank, the wife of General Leon 
Nariskin, who had recently arrived from Odessa. 

However this profanation might have shocked 
the pious among the population of Stamboul, yet 
the sons of St. Crispin had abundant reason to 
rejoice ; for as no person is allowed to enter the 
sacred precincts of the mosque without slippers, 
and as on these occasions a large concourse of 
christian strangers would be certain to • attend, 
thousands of piastres would be equally sure to 
find their way into the pockets of the slipper- 
making tribe. 

The first mosque we visited was that usually 
called the new mosque, Venidschanir, built by 
Valido, mother of Mahomet IV. She was a 
woman of masculine mind and daring resolution, 
qualities the more remarkable when exhibited in 
a country where woman is detained in such de- 
basing slavery. Like Catherine de Medicis, she 



160 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

took advantage of the minority of her son, and 
established her influence so firmly, that she di- 
rected the springs which then set this great 
empire in motion. This mosque had nothing to 
distinguish it, except vastness. 

We next entered that near the bazaars, com- 
pleted by Osman III. in 1750, being the last 
work erected in Constantinople on a colossal 
scale. This, also, did not exhibit any architec- 
tural beauty ; but I could not help noticing a pair 
of tremendous caiidelabras, containing wax tapers, 
or rather columns, of such gigantic size that they 
might have served as masts for a ship. 

The mosque of Solyman the Great now at- 
tracted our attention, containing his mausoleum, 
which was at once simple and striking. Two 
coffins, containing the remains of this great man 
and his son, covered with Cachmire shawls, on 
which lay two turbans, reposed in a pretty pa- 
vilion. An inscription in gold letters recorded 
their names, and the day of their decease. Around 
the tomb, lamps and wax tapers are constantly 
burning. The chapel is decorated with tablets, 
over which are written different passages of the 
KorS.n. This, like every other of the tombs of 
the Sultans, is at all times open to the faithful, 
who frequently come here to offer up their de- 
votions. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 6 1 

Near the tomb is a divan, appropriated exclu- 
sively to the use of the reigning Sultan ; and here, 
it is said, amidst the silence of the grave, and 
bending over the ashes of his great ancestor, 
Mahmoud meditates upon the moral and political 
state of his empire; here engenders his plans for 

m 

her improvement, his designs for the regeneration 
of his people. 

This mosque is not less admirable for the bold- 
ness of its design, than for the colossal size of the 
granite columns which support its splendid dome. 
It was originally constructed from the remains of 
the christian church St. Euphemia, which also 
had been indebted for its materials to the heathen 
temple dedicated to Apollo ; having thus served 
in succession for the celebration of divine service 
to the heathen, Christian, and Mahometan. 

In the vicinity of the palace of the Seraskier 
Pacha, (minister of war,) we have the fine mosque 
of Bajazet II. ; for, with few exceptions, every 
Sultan of the Ottoman empire erected one during 
his reign. A description, however, of this would 
only be a repetition of what I have before said ; 
for all these buildings are similar in form and 
decorations, the only difference being in size and 
splendour. 

The beautiful pictures and statues which de- 
light the amateur in the temples devoted to 

VOL. I. M 



162 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

Catholic worship, find no place here, being ex- 
pressly forbidden by the Koran. A mosque is 
generally adorned with several cupolas, supported 
by porphyry, jasper, or marble columns ; with a 
court*yard in front, decorated with a fountain in 
the foim of a temple, and shaded with the united 
foliage of the cypress, plane, sycamore, and other 
trees, forming a most agreeable retreat during 
the heats of summer. The branches are sure to 
be the resting-place of myriads of doves ; this bird 
being an especial favourite with the disciples of 
Mahomet. 

The mosque called Achmed, near the Hippo- 
drome, is that usually visited by the Sultan and 
the different members of the divan on great 
public occasions. In the court-yard, a tree was 
pointed out to us, upon which, it is said, several 
of the janissaries were executed during the gene- 
ral massacre of that body. 

We now approached San Sophia, the Russian 
ambassador having judiciously arranged that we 
should visit it the last. I was much struck by its 
colossal dimensions; but though anxious to enter^ 
we were obliged to restrain our impatience, as it 
was the third hour of the day, when, according 
to the rites of the religion of Mahomet, numbers 
of Turks were engaged in prayer. 

We occupied ourselves, in the mean time, in 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 63 

viewing the adjoining chapel, which contains the 
tomb of Selim II., who repaired San Sophia after 
it was much injured by an earthquake. Sultan 
Selim was worthy of being a priest of Bacchus ; 
for, according to his biographers, such was his 
devotion to the wines of Cyprus, as to induce him 
to undertake an expedition against that island for 
the purpose of becoming sole possessor of the 
vineyards. The gratification of his desire cost 
the lives of twenty -five thousand Greeks; and he 
himself, after indulging one evening too freely in 
his beloved nectar, fell into a sleep, from which 
he only awoke in eternity. 

Here we were shown a curious model, in relief, 
of the city of the holy prophet : the procession of 
the pilgrims is delineated with much spirit and 
fidelity. Two superb copies of the Koran were 
also objects of general admiration. They were 
folio MSS., but executed with such neatness and 
precision, that the spectator might deem them 
exquisite specimens of typography ; the vignettes 
and ornaments were of fine gold, and as they 
were beautifully bound in silk, and reposed on a 
velvet cushion, presented a most splendid ap- 
pearance. 

At length the signal was given for our entrance 
into San Sophia ; and surely never, since the days 
of Constantine, did so large an assemblage of 

M 2 



164 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

Christians cross the threshold of this superb tem- 
ple of public worship. Indeed, the louring frown 
on the countenances of the Turks, on beholding 
the intrusion of such numbers of infidels, made us 
almost fear that their ill-humour would break out 
in a scene of violence similar to that perpetrated 
upon the Chevalier Tamara and his party, who, 
you are probably aware, was ambassador from the 
court of St. Petersburg to the Ottoman Porte in 
the reign of Paul L 

The gallant knight, having received a firman 
from the Sultan for that purpose, proceeded, ac- 
companied with his suite, to visit some of the 
mosques ; when, during the time he was in that 
of Sultan Solyman, the mouUahs observed a 
Russian laughing. Supposing that this levity 
originated in contempt for their religion, they 
imparted their suspicions to the fanatic mob, who 
attacked the ambassador and his retinue, and 
would certainly have massacred the whole, if it 
had not been for the speedy interference of a 
corps of janissaries: as it was, every individual 
of the party suffered in a greater or a less degree. 

I, however, have no such tragedy to record ; 
for the fanatic priests were contented to vent 
their ill-humour upon a few unoffending Greeks, 
who had snatched a brief respite from their daily 
toil to enjoy a momentary glance at the temple 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 65 

of their great ancestors ; these the mouUahs rudely 
kicked out, either, I suppose, because they were 
shabbily dressed, or had forgotten their slippers. 

On entering this venerable pile, the silence of 
the multitude was remarkable ; they did not utter 
even a murmur of admiration ; while here and 
there might be seen a kneeling Greek, weeping 
over the profanation of the temple of his fore- 
fathers. It must indeed have been painful to this 
people to behold the spot on which the last of the 
Constantines implored the assistance of Heaven, 
before he went out to meet the infidel power des- 
tined to work his overthrow. The first object 
that struck me, as I surveyed the interior of the 
edifice, was the colours of Mahomet II., placed 
by his own hand on each side of the pulpit to 
commemorate his conquest. 

The immense area of this stupendous fabric, 
being unencumbered by altars, statues, pews, cha- 
pels, or indeed any object which can tend to de- 
tract from its size, immediately excites the idea 
of vastness ; which after all is not so great, when 
we remember that the diameter of the dome is no 
more than a hundred and five feet, being twenty- 
five less than St. Peter's at Rome, and only five 
more than St. Paul's of London. The impres- 
sion of its magnitude is also, in a great degree, 
referable to the very inconsiderable elevation of 



166 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

the cupola in proportion to its circumference ; for 
though the height of the building is a hundred 
and sixty-five feet, yet the altitude of the dome is 
no more than eighteen. This circumstance con- 
stitutes the great and only merit in the architec- 
ture of the building. San Sophia is extremely 
sombre, and, being destitute of every ornament, 
except a few verses from the Koran inscribed on 
tablets, gives more the idea of a colossal tomb, 
than of a place dedicated to divine worship. Indeed 
the only object which reminds a Christian of its 
sacred destination is the marble pulpit, from 
which the priest delivers a few precepts out of 
the Koran, or promulgates a new law ordained 
by the Sultan. Still, when the numerous and 
many coloured glass lamps suspended from the 
dome are lighted, and the spacious edifice filled 
by a congregation of worshippers, the efiect must 
be most imposing. 

The style of the architecture of San Sophia 
tells very plainly that it was erected at a period 
of the Roman empire, when the principles of 
pure taste had become corrupted. The exterior 
presents a heterogeneous mixture of piles and 
buttresses, and the general efiect of the building 
would be dumpy, were it not for the airy, grace- 
ful minarets which rise like fairy columns above 
the dome. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 167 

The interior is not more felicitous in its deco- 
rations, for the porphyry, Egyptian granite, and 
marble columns are all of different orders, and the 
ruins of several heathen temples have evidently 
been robbed to furnish them ; many are muti- 
lated, and the greater number have been ar- 
ranged by the architect in utter defiance of the 
laws of symmetry. 

The fine mosaic pavement, one of the most 
beautiful objects of art belonging to the edifice, 
is entirely covered by several folds of Egyptian 
matting ; and the splendid mosaic paintings that 
ornamented the dome have even shared a worse 
fate ; for the Turks, who regard the fine arts as 
blasphemous, upon converting the christian 
temple into a mosque^ veiled the offending pic- 
tures with a thick coat of plaster. They were^ 
however, destined to sustain a: still greater and 
more irreparable injury through the fanaticism of 
the Greeks, who, anxious to obtain some relic of 
so sacred an edifice, bribed the Turkish custodia 
to abstract small pieces of the crystals, which 
they caused to be converted into trinkets, and 
the pious throughout Christendom became the 
purchasers. In process of time, the theft was 
discovered : the Mussulmans were furious, and 
such has been the angry feeling created in their 
breasts, even to the present day, by this act of 



168 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

sacrilegious spoliation, that the life of any 
Christian would certainly be endangered, if he 
were to enter St. Sophia without a firman. 

The mosques of Constantinople are not calcu- 
lated, when viewed in detail, to bear a critical 
examination ; still, from their novel style of 
architecture, and the graceful form of the taper- 
ing minaret, they captivate the imagination of 
the beholder, and win from his judgment the 
tribute of involuntary admiration. That of St. 
Sophia, though it must yield in beauty to the 
mosque of Sultan Achmet, the finest building 
ever erected by the Turks, is far more interest- 
ing, from its connexion with the early history of 
the church, the downfal of the empire of the 
East, iand the establishment of Islamism in 
Europe. 

While contemplating the mutilated remains of 
the cross, and the statues of the evangelists on 
the exterior of San Sophia, how forcibly are we 
reminded of that dreadful day when the altars 
of Christ were overturned, and but three short 
hours intervened between the celebration of 
Christian and Mahometan worship ; and this 
amidst a carnage, of which the world, fortu- 
nately, has had but few examples ! 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 169 



LETTER XVII. 

TURKISH LOYB-APFAIR — COURTSHIP — MARRIAGB — PESTI' 

VAL — HAREM INTERIOR — CUSTOMS AND MANNERS OP THE 

WOMEN TURKISH SUPERSTITION — SULTAN's ASTROLOGER 

AMULETS — DECREASE OP FANATICISM TOLERANCE OP 

THE MUSSULMANS TOWARDS GIAOURS. 

In my last, I hope I conveyed to your mind a 
faint outline of the grand temple of Islamism : 
the filling up I must leave to your own imagina- 
tion ; and as the transition from a church to a 
marriage is not difficult, I will now attempt to 
give you a sketch of the ceremonial of a Turkish 
bridal. In consequence of the absence of all in- 
tercourse between the sexes in this country, a 
marriage resulting from mutual attachment does 
not often occur. When it, however, does really 
happen that a youthful EfFendi is captivated by 
the shadow of some fair flower of the harem, as, 
enveloped in the ample folds of white muslin, she 
is repairing to the bath attended by her slaves, 
the inamorato, instead of sending a billet-doux, 
most sentimentally drops a bouquet of hyacinths 



170 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

in the path of the lady as she returns, waddling 
like a stately swan just emerged from the water ; 
for be it remembered, that in Turkey reading and . 
writing form no part of the education of the 
gentler sex, and not often of their sterner lords. 

One of the female attendants, by the aid of a 
purse of sequins, is converted into a Mercury ; 
she presents the nosegay to her mistress, telling 
her that an aspiring butterfly sighs to obtain pos- 
session of the beautiful rose ; or, to drop meta- 
phor, that a certain rich and handsome Effendi 
desires the honour of her hand. Should the rose 
blush consent and accept the flowers, a carnation, 
wrapped in an embroidered handkerchief, is «ent 
to the butterfly; and, as a further encourage- 
ment, on her next visit to the bath, by some un- 
looked-for accident, the veil drops from her face 
and snow-white arms, and she stands for an 
instant, revealed in all her loveliness, before her 
astonished admirer. 

Enchanted by such a vision of beauty, the 
butterfly wings its way to the father of the blush- 
ing rose ; and either stipulates to pay a certain 
sum for the object of his wishes, or wins his con- - 
sent by rich presents, and the prospect of the 
advantages to be derived from an alliance with 
an EfFendi of such powerful connexions. 

After this preliminary has been concluded, 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 17 1 

aud the dowry agreed upon paid, (for in this 
country a man is not only obliged to purchase 
his wife, but to make a settlement upon her,) 
the bridegroom repairs to the mosque, and an- 
nounces his intention to the iman, who offers up 
a few appropriate prayers ; which shows that 
even the Mahometan invests this ceremony with 
a religious character. It is also regarded as a 
civil contract, being publicly registered in the 
presence of the cadi, parents, and friends of both 
parties. 

When the different formalities have been com- 
pleted, the bride is conducted with great pomp to 
the bath, where she submits to a long process of 
perfuming, anointing, &c. She is then taken to 
her husband's dwelling in a very gay, gilded car, 
with a gaudy canopy, drawn by a team of buffa- 
loes, in which she is seated like a geip in a casket, 
her whole form enveloped in a rich gold gauze. 

On these festive occasions, there are always 
troops of cavaliers in attendance, buffoons, danc- 
ing-girls, bands of music, &c« ; therefore the din, 
as you may well suppose, caused by these up- 
roarious rejoicings, is absolutely deafening. She 
is received at her new dwelling by her lord or 
his parents, and introduced to the harem assign- 
ed for her use; when the ceremony concludes 
with two grand entertainments, one for the bride. 



172 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

and the other for the bridegroom, with their mu- 
tual friends. 

You are probably aware that the Koran re- 
stricts a Turk to four wives, but, on the other 
hand, permits him to multiply the number of 
his slaves ad infinitum. However, a numerous 
harem, with all its paraphernalia of eunuchs, 
domestics, &c., is a most expensive affair, which 
few Effendis, owing to the impoverished state of 
the country, can afford to keep ; hence they 
have become more moderate in this indulgence, 
and now usually content themselves with a couple 
of wives. These, though obliged to submit to 
the absolute caprices of their lord, reign despoti- 
cally over the slaves and the whole household ; 
and not unfrequently, through their artful coquet- 
ries, extend their sway even over this great do- 
mestic monarch himself. 

When visiting my Turkish friends at Constan- 
tinople, as I before mentioned, I was more than 
once admitted into the harem, the Effendis show- 
ing little or no repugnance, in this reforming 
nge, to exhibit their wives and slaves ; and such 
is the rapid progress in this, as well as other 
innovations on their ancient customs, that most 
probably, in a few years, we shall find the harem 
converted into a salon, and become the general 
receiving- room for society. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 173 

At some of the entertainments to which I was 
invited^ even the wives and slaves of my host 
waited upon us at table, for here no woman is 
allowed the privilege of dipping in the same dish 
with her lord. The rule is, however, sometimes 
relaxed in favour of an especial favourite, par- 
ticularly if she happens to be the mother of a 
boy, a circumstance which always highly exalts 
a female, both in the estimation of her lord and 
of her companions ; hence, when fate denies her 
the happiness of being a mother^ it is regarded 
by a woman, both here and throughout the East, 
as the greatest curse that can befal her. 

Strange to say, the harem I saw at Stamboul, 
which exhibited the most complete picture of 
oriental luxury, belonged to a rich Frank. This 
gentleman, whose name through courtesy I sup- 
press, was not, in spite of our character for 
eccentricities, an Englishman. He has entirely 
adopted Turkish manners, even to public atten- 
dance at the mosques ; though his friends well 
know that in these observances there is more 
hypocrisy than faith, as he makes no scruple 
in expressing opinions totally at variance with 
the tenets of the Koran. His immense wealth 
enables him to live in great splendour, and, being 
of a generous disposition, he frequently gives 
superb entertainments; but since the attempt 



1 74 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

of the traveller, P. P , to rob him of one of 

. his fair flock, he has become shy of the society of 
Franks in general, and now seldom invites any 
persons to visit him except Turks. 

The first time I was introduced into his harem, 
or, properly speaking, reception-salon, I found 
him, as the weather was extremely warm, re- 
clining on a divan, attended by his women, who 
were vying with each other in endeavouring to 
win his approbation.* One was perfuming his 
beard with otto of roses, another fanning away 
the flies, and a third with her soft hands sham- 
pooed his feet ; her^ a beautiful Circassian was 
performing on a sort of lute, there another dis- 
played her graceful form in the voluptuous 
mazes of the dance ; while several sat embroi- 
dering at a distance, and lastly, a bold-looking 
Georgian, who by her confident airs and great 
beauty seemed conscious of being the favourite, 
exhibited her well-turned arms as she reclined 
on a Persian carpet, and enjoyed, apparently 
with much gusto, her tchibouque. 

The most aromatic perfumes were burning in 
the apartment ; and the murmuring of the water 
from a marble fountain in the centre was at once 
calculated to cool and refresh the air, lull the 
indolent to sleep, and supply the vacant mind 

* See vignette in the title page. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 1 75 

with thought. In short, every aid was resorted 
to that could in any way pander to the senses. 
The room opened into a garden filled with 
flowers, costly carpets covered the floor, and 
cushions of purple velvet, embroidered in gold, 
the divan ; the ceiling was painted in fresco, and 
the panels inlaid with mother of pearl or look- 
ing-glasses. The women, who were generally 
lovely, appeared ^ay and happy : and in order, 
I suppose, that his selection should be perfectly 
Turkish, they were beautifully fat ! Their dresses 
were superb and becoming, the colours well 
blended though gaudy ; and their hair, which 
was ornamented with pearls and precious stones, 
either fell in long plaits to the waist, or was 
confined by embroidered gauze. 

This enervating indolence and intoxicating 
luxury, however congenial they may be to some 
minds, are disgusting to a reflecting man, who 
considers that life was bestowed for better pur- 
poses than to be consumed in unprofitable idle- 
ness and degrading sensuality. 

I have purposely given you a lengthened 
account of this harem, its appointments being in 
a style similar to those of every other, the only 
difierence consisting in the magnificence of the 
decorations and the number of the inmates. The 
confinement of the women, and the restraints 



176 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

imposed upon them, are not so irksome as you 
would imagine : and even these are becoming 
every day less rigorous. Besides their prome- 
nades to the valleys of the Sweet Waters in 
Europe and Asia, and frequent visits to their 
friends, we see them riding in their gilded cars, 
sailing on the Bosphorus in their elegant caiks 
or the magnificent kachamboj (a sort of barge,) 
whilst whole days are passed in the luxury of the 
bath, — the terrestrial paradise of every oriental 
woman. Here they breakfast, dine, sup, or ea^ 
confectionaries. 

Notwithstanding all that travellers say to the 
contrary, when reprobating the usages and cus- 
toms of the Turks with respect to the confine- 
ment of their women, perhaps they are hap- 
pier than we expect ; for let it be remembered 
their intellect is never educated, and they are 
utterly ignorant of any other mode of living. 
The inhabitants of most countries, I believe, 
adapt their manners and customs to the climate 
and other circumstances; consequently, for aught 
we know to the contrary, it may have been found 
necessary to resort to restraint with the women of 
the East. Most certain it is, they are exceedingly 
circumspect in their conduct, for the detection 
of a single imprudent act leads to the introduc- 
tion of the hakkim, who administers a sleeping 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 177 

potion ; or to that of the euaucb, who consigns 
the frail fair one to the bottom of the Bosphorus 
in a sack. 

One of the greatest foibles in the character of 
the Turk is superstition ; we find it pervading 
all classes, from the lowest peasant to the great 
Padishah of all the Osmanlis himself; and though 
we must give that monarch great credit for his 
enlightened mind and good qualities, when com- 
pared with his ignorant predecessors and be- 
nighted subjects, yet in education Sultan Mah- 
moud is still a Turk ; and perhaps in nothing 
more so than that he retains near his person, 
according to the custom of his ancestors, a muned- 
jimbashi, (chief astrologer,) although the practice 
is in direct opposition to the Koran, which de- 
nounces astrology as a crime only inferior to 
idolatry. 

It is however to be hoped, that even this relic 
of the dark ages will soon be dispensed with by a 
man who has shown such a predilection for the 
society of the learned of every country ; and so 
great an anxiety to enlighten the minds of his 
people, and to raise them to a level with European 
intelligence. 

Amulets are still worn by every true Osmanli. 
The priests and imans sell charms wholesale, — one 
to keep out Schitan, (Satan ;) another to make 

VOL. I. N 



178 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

a lady fat and fruitful ; and a third, above all, 
to ward off the evil eye, which is always to be 
dreaded in a stranger, particularly if he admires 
the beauty of their wives and children. In 
short, you cannot annoy a Turk more than to 
speak in terms of commendation of anything 
belonging to him. 

The manufacture of the myriads of amulets 
constitutes a most lucrative employment to 
thousands of the Stambouli artisans, and their 
sale a source of immense revenue to the priests 
who consecrate them ; for the little safeguards 
against evil are not only made in the form of 
elegant trinkets for the higher classes, but we 
find them, of a ruder fabrication, worn by the 
whole population. Every house has one sus- 
pended over the door; the shepherd ties them 
around the horns of his flocks and herds; the 
tradesman attaches them to the difierent articles 
he sells, to preserve them from fire; and the 
cavalier never ventures on horseback without 
suspending one around the neck of his charger. 

Notwithstanding all this, after perusing the 
accounts of Turkey and its inhabitants, written 
even within the last few years, the traveller, upon 
visiting Stamboul, cannot but be forcibly struck 
with the decided decrease of superstition, but 
more particularly of fanaticism, among the peo- 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 179 

pie. Their increase of charitable feeling towards 
the Giaour, is no doubt referable, partly to the 
humiliating defeats they sustained by Christian 
prowess, the battle of Navarino, and the im- 
portant advantages obtained by the Russians ; 
and partly, perhaps I ought to say principally, 
to steam navigation. This, by attracting a con- 
course of strangers to the capital, has had the 
effect of tearing the veil of prejudice from their 
eyes, and of convincing them that the customs, 
manners, and character of the Giaours are not so 
revolting as their traditions have represented. 

Of their toleration and courtesy I can from 
experience speak confidently, for I repeatedly 
wandered alone through the streets of Stamboul 
and the environs, entered their coffee-houses, 
regaled myself in their restaurateurs, attended 
the military parade, &c. ; and so far from meet- 
ing with molestation, I was invariably greeted 
with civility, but more especially when they 
learned I was an Ingliz. In short, except the 
mosque, which is still sealed to the entrance of 
the Christian, I feel assured that the traveller 
may now, without apprehension, extend his 
promenades as he pleases through the capital, 
or in the environs, it being only among the 
ignorant fanatic boors of the provinces that he 
will meet with ill treatment. 

N 2 



180 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XVIII. 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS UPON THE STATE OF THE TURKISH 
EMPIRE — ITS RISE AND FALL — RUSSIAN VICTORIES EASILY 
ACHIEVED TURKISH CHARACTER INTOXICATION INNO- 
VATION OP THE SULTAN ON THE LAWS OP THE KORAN — 
EFFECTS ON THE PEOPLE — THE KORAN — TURKISH OPINION 
OF PROTESTANTISM — DEMORALISING TENDENCY OF THE 
MAHOMETAN RELIGION — ITS INFLUENCE UPON A STRANGER. 

Although Turkey, in her late contest with Rus- 
sia, was made to drink deeply of the cup of bit- 
terness ; and though, as an ancient and faithful 
ally, we must sympathise in her reverses ; still, 
in one point of view, we can scarcely regret her 
adversity, since it has had the good effect of at 
least partially dispelling the ignorant delusion 
of her sons, which may ultimately, (at least the 
philanthropist indulges in such a hope,) by 
bringing them more in contact with the tactics 
and civilisation of foreign nations, tend to ope- 
rate their regeneration, excite their emulation, 
and place their country in that position nature 
intended it should occupy. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 181 

Still, when we glance over the pages of the 
history of this extraordinary people, their rise, 
progress, and victories ; the glory, extent, and 
magnificence of their once mighty empire, sub- 
duing sovereign after sovereign, and threatening 
with destruction even Christianity itself, we can 
scarcely wonder at the panoply of self-admiration 
in which they entrenched themselves ; the arro- 
gant contempt with which they regarded all 
those that differed from them in faith ; and the 
belief, while fighting under the banners of the 
prophet, that they were invincible. 

Should, therefore, the light of civilisation and 
intelligence dispel the mists of superstition, and 
direct the energies of such a people into a proper 
channel, may we not anticipate that they will be 
able to prop up their decaying empire ; and that 
a course is reserved, if not so brilliant as that 
granted them in past ages, yet more enduring, 
because consonant with the best interests of hu- 
manity. 

However marvellous may appear the rapid 
aggrandisement of the empire of Mahomet, its 
decline is no less wonderful ; for less than a cen- 
tury has sufficed to strip the Osmanlis of all their 
glory, and to wrest from them more than half 
their conquests : a fearful lesson to governments 
of the necessity of encouraging industry, and of 



182 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

discountenancing all effeminate vices that may 
tend to sap the morality and energies of a 
people. 

The Mahomedan suicidally accelerated his own 
decay : he conquered only for rapine, governed 
only for extortion ; so that his sceptre became a 
curse to every nation over which he ruled. Sated 
with conquest and gorged with plunder, he sur- 
rendered himself to debasing sloth and enervat- 
ing indulgences ; and, unlike his noble ancestor, 
who was brave in the field, faithful to his ruler, 
and generous to his enemies, he now, like a cow- 
ard, presents the cup of poison with a smile, and 
murders with the oath of friendship on his lips. 
Witness the wholesale massacres the Turkish 
government has perpetrated, and the details of 
private life which many travellers of unques- 
tionable veracity have furnished, and which I 
repeatedly heard confirmed by the Frank resi- 
dents in Turkey. 

But to resume our observations on the declen- 
sion of the Turkish empire. When the mutations 
of ages had passed away, while the children of 
the Cross had gone on adding knowledge to 
knowledge, discovery to discovery, improvement 
to improvement, the sons of the Crescent re- 
mained stationary ; and stationary they will 
remain, so long as they adhere to their civil 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 183 

and religious institutions, which are not only of 
a demoralising character, but peremptorily for- 
bid every attempt at innovation. 

It is entirely owing to this adherence to an- 
cient usages, that we now find the Turkish empire 
resembling an antiquated chamber ; which, 
having been closed for centuries, is suddenly 
exposed to the full glare of the noon -day sun. 
But as yet, this light has only had the effect of 
making the Turk stroke his beard with more 
than usual animation, and exclaim in a louder 
voice than ordinary, M ashallah ! Allah-Keirim ! 

A country exhausted by the extortion of cen- 
turies, a depraved people governed by a succes- 
sion of weak effeminate princes, abroad an army 
disorganised for want of pay, at home the janis- 
saries, a band of military ruffians, filling the 
streets of the capital with scenes of revolutionary 
violence, would be likely to fall an easy prey to 
the fury of the invader. Hence we must deem 
that the laurels of Russia were won without 
difficulty, and her conquests over the undis- 
ciplined armies of the Crescent achieved at 
little cost. 

However, we must concede that the Turkish 
soldier, unenervated by the oriental vices of his 
wealthier brethren, stillretains all the fiery valour 
and fanatic zeal of his dauntless ancestors, and 



184 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

displayed, in defence of his country, prodigies 
of heroism ; but having had the misfortune of 
being led on by chiefs without talent or bra- 
very, his courage availed him nothing against an 
enemy whom, had he the advantages of the same 
military education, he would have humbled to 
the dust. 

In addition to his other vices, the Turk has 
added that of intoxication, not as a theriahi^ 
(opium-eater,) but as a votary of the vine-orowned 
deity : even the ladies of the harem have disco- 
vered that rosoglio is more piquant than sherbet. 
During my promenades through the city, scarcely 
a day passed that I did not see quite as many 
drunken Turks about the streets as in any city of 
Christendom ; and you have only to question the 
Frank merchant, to learn the quantity of rum and 
rakee consumed by the devout inhabitants of the 
capital of Moslemism. These they drink openly; 
for Mahomet, although so great a prophet, was 
not able to anticipate the discovery of the West 
Indies ; consequently, could not forbid the indul- 
gence of this intoxicating nectar to his followers. 
Indeed, it is notorious that the most exalted per- 
sons in the empire have been recommended wine 
for the benefit of tlieir health ! 

The present Sultan Mahmoud, through the 
boldness of his reforms, in direct opposition to 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 185 

the tenets of Islamism, and which alone the fear- 
less energy of his character enabled him to under- 
take, has shaken the faith of the people in the 
infallibility of the Koran to its foundation, and 
completely subverted their belief in the tenet, 
that no mortal could violate the laws of the pro- 
phet with impunity, — laws which were written 
by the hand of God before the foundation of 
the world ! and .presented to the great Maho- 
met himself, the chosen of heaven, by the angel 
Gabriel ! 

We cannot, therefore, wonder that disbelief 
in the divine origin of the Koran is rapidly in- 
creasing ; nay, it is even whispered among the 
elect, that the Sultan has of late years extended 
a greater share of his countenance towards his 
dejected Rayahs and the despised Giaours, than 
was consistent with the vicegerent of the pro- 
phet of the Lord ; and some of the Stambouli 
Christians even venture to anticipate the pos- 
sibility of their purer faith being, in some few 
years hence, adopted instead of the errors of 
Islamism. 

Still, however we may condemn the degrading 
tendency and puerile absurdities found in that 
most luminous volume, which the Moslems call 
a "blaze of inspiration,*' there is a great deal 
that must command our admiration. For in- 



186 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

stance, the adoration of the one, indivisible, 
eternal God, the simplicity of the rites, ceremo- 
nies, and form of worship, consisting of diurnal 
ablutions, public and private prayer, an annual 
festival and fast. If we contrast this absence of 
devotional pomp with the ever-recurring days of 
abstinence and holidays of the Roman and 
Greek churches, we must reluctantly acknow- 
ledge that Islamism, with all its faults, has in 
this respect the advantage. 

Certain it is, that should the Turks at any fu- 
ture period be won over to embrace the tenets 
and conform to the observances of Christianity, it 
will never be to these forms of our faith above 
mentioned, abhorring as they do, with the bitterest 
feelings of dislike, not only statues and pictures, 
but the mediatorial prayers addressed to the 
virgin and saints. 

In corroboration of the opinions I have here 
advanced, perhaps I may be permitted to mention, 
that during the various discussions I have had 
with my Turkish friends on religious subjects, 
they repeatedly expressed their surprise that 
Christianity contained any form of faith and 
worship so denuded of the extraneous and ad- 
ventitious aids adopted by the Greek and 
Roman churches, as protestantism. And when I 
explained that the essence of Christianity con- 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 187 

sisted in its simplicity, they openly and unhe- 
sitatingly acknowledged for it their warmest ad« 
miration. 

May we not therefore infer, without being ac- 
cused of entertaining visionary fancies, that if 
prudent and rational measures were adopted, a 
strong probability exists that this people might, in 
process of time, be converted to protestant Chris- 
tianity ; more especially as they regard whatever 
emanates from England with strong feelings of 
partiality. 

How devoutly will this be wished by every re- 
flecting man, who has sojourned even but a brief 
space among the followers of Islamism ; for doc- 
trines so futile and absurd, so calculated to pro- 
mote sensuality and vice, can never form the code 
of belief and morals, without gradually under- 
mining the nobler impulses of our nature. In 
short, the most eloquent satire upon the Maho- 
metan religion, and the most striking exemplifi- 
cation of the words of our Saviour, " a tree is 
known by its fruits," is to be found in the cha- 
racter of the Turk of the nineteenth century. 

That the passing traveller should be led to 
think favourably of Islamism, is very natural ; 
for what can be more impressive than the solemn 
call of the muezzin from the tops of the minarets 
to prayer, which is repeated five times a day. 



188 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

Indeed it is impossible that the soul should not be 
touched with devotion on hearing the sacred invi- 
tation addressed, not only to the children of the 
prophet, but the whole universe without limita- 
tion. And how sublimely devotional is the 

" Come to prayer ! come to prayer ! come to 
the temple of salvation I Great God ! Great 
God ! I attest that there is no God but God ! 
and Mahomet is the prophet of the Lord !" 

How often did these words, uttered by a deep, 
sonorous, musical voice, fall on my ear in the still 
solitude of the morning, when, amidst the un- 
broken silence, the call to prayer appeared like a 
command from heaven ; and how often, in my en- 
thusiasm of admiration for this beautiful observ- 
ance, have I been won into momentary forgetful- 
ness of the fallacy of Mahomet's creed, — a creed, 
which the more we study, the more fully we are 
convinced of its absurdity, and that it was formed 
by the arch-deceiverforthepurpose of ministering 
to his own selfish indulgences, and of facilitating 
his meditated conquests. In addition to its other 
evil consequences, no religion ever tended more 
to debase man as an intellectual being ; the doc- 
trine of fatalism being alone sufficient to benumb 
mental energy. What activity, what enterprise, 
can we expect from a man who considers himself 
to be a mere passive puppet, and most piously 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 189 

believes that an endeavour to avert any threat- 
ened calamity, however imminent the danger, is 
a sin against heaven ? 

Every religious mind must therefore rejoice 
that Islamism is on the decline. May its fall be as 
rapid as its rise t and the conviction must force 
itself upon our minds, that a more than mortal 
will guides even the temporal concerns of this 
sublunary world ; more especially when we be- 
hold the sudden, and to man inscrutable, reverses 
that take place in the destinies of nations, whose 
causes often elude the most laborious efforts of 
a finite intellect to trace. Yet we know that 
the chain of purposes is carried on by the un- 
erring hand of the great Ruler of the Universe. 



190 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XIX. 

MOUNT BULGURLU — SPLENDID PROSPECT — REFLECTIONS — 

TURKISH ILLUMINATIONS SERAGLIO — MILITARY SCHOOL 

CADETS YOUNO KABARDIAN — RUSSIAN TRIUMPH. 

Before leaving Constantinople^ I once more as- 
cended Mount Bulgurlu, to the beautiful chiosk 
of the Sultan ; and however much we may admire 
the scenery, while wandering in the environs of 
this most picturesque capital, it is assuredly from 
that spot we can best appreciate its splendour. 

Bulgurlu is scarcely two English miles from 
the superb Scutari, and is not difficult of access, 
donkeys and ponies being always in attendance for 
the accommodation of the traveller. How often, 
from that elevated situation, have I watched the 
rising and setting sun, as it poured its golden 
light over a landscape replete with every charm 
which could enter the imagination of a poet or an 
artist, — a landscape which memory will ever recal 
as the ideal of beauty, and which is, I believe, 
universally conceded by all travellers, possessed 
either of taste or feeling, to be one of the finest 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 191 

in the world, whether we regard the materials 
composing it, or their felicitous combinations. 

When tired of viewing the majestic panorama 
of Stamboul, its suburbs, and the glassy bay of 
the Golden Horn, we have only to look a little 
to the left, and gaze with delight upon the sea of 
Marmora, tranquilly sleeping like an immense 
lake ; over whose shelving banks rises the lofty 
range of the snow-crowned Olympus, the council - 
chamber of Homer's conclave of the gods. Nor 
are these the only imposing features in this vast 
amphitheatre ; for, by turning to the right from 
the sublime scenery of Asia Minor, you have the 
less grand but infinitely more lovely Bosphorus, 
winding its way like a stately river to the distant 
Euxine, through a succession of pictures made 
up of every object that can captivate the senses. 

Perhaps you may think I have dwelt too much 
at length on the enchantments of this highly- 
favoured land ; and yet I assure you I have re- 
strained my raptures, lest you might accuse me of 
revelling too luxuriantly in scenic description ; 
but with such a prospect, such a country, it is 
scarcely possible to control my language within 
the bounds of admiration. However, I may surely 
apologise by saying, that it would be an unpar- 
donable omission were I to quit this lovely land 
without a few remarks on its scenery, which may 



1 92 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

convey to the uutravelled reader some idea of 
the external aspect of a country daily becoming 
more interesting from its situation and political 
relations. 

While indulging in the contemplation of this 
glorious country, the theatre of so many impor- 
tant historical events, my mind recurred to 
scenes long since buried beneath the dust of 
ages. I thought of the ancient inhabitants of 
the capital of an empire, that could contend in 
arms with mighty Rome herself; of the Cartha- 
ginian chief, a solitary wanderer upon these 
shores ; of the various powerful governments that 
have here held dominion — the Greeks, the Ro- 
mans, and the Moslemins : I then mentally 
reverted to Sultan Mahmoud, his reforms, and 
endeavours to prop up his falling empire. 

Here the warlike sons of ancient Rome, after 
wading through oceans of blood, planted their in- 
vincible eagle. But where are the magnificent 
amphitheatres of this daughter of imperial Rome ? 
where are the triumphal arches — monuments of 
their numerous victories, the colossal Termes, 
splendid forum, innumerable statues, &c. ? All 
have long since passed away : not a vestige re- 
mains even to tell of their existence. 

We then see the pastoral tribes of Arabia, a 
hardy race, traverse the mountains of the Cauca- 




CONSTANTINOPLE. 193 

sns, with their flocks and herds, under tlieir patri- 
archal chief the virtuous Osman, subduing town 
after town, country aftef country, and finally 
planting the Crescent on the ruins of the Cross, 
and trampling in the dust the last descendant of 
the conquerors of the world. They have also 
degenerated beneath the enervating influence of 
this luxuriant land, which, like a beautiful cour- 
tesan, first captivates, and then destroys her vic- 
tim. A country so happy in its situation, so fortu- 
nate in its climate, that it might serve for the 
residence of the gods, is yet, of every other 
upon the face of the globe, the most fatal to its 
possessors. 

The last evening I visited Bulgurlu happened 
to be that of the grand Mahometan festival, 
Courhann Bairem ; and, on my return, I was 
agreeably surprised to find the entire city, with 
its suburbs, brilliantly illuminated. Imagine 
the magical effect of festoons of many-coloured 
lamps suspended between the lofty minarets, 
around the numerous mosques, and decorating 
the different public edifices of the town ; which, 
rising like an amphitheatre above each other, 
presented one blaze of undulating light, the 
whole beautifully mirrored in the crystal bosom 
of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. 

In addition to this, thousands of vessels in the 

VOL. I. o 



194 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

harbour were lighted up, which, together with 
the roaring of the cannon, the number of cdiis 
darting to and fro, the shouts of the boatmen, 
and a cloudless sky glittering with myriads of 
stars, completed a picture which no capital in 
the world could parallel. It is true, I have 
repeatedly beheld illuminations in our own me- . 
tropolis infinitely more magnificent : but it was 
th^ peculiar locality of Stamboul, the novel 
architecture of its edifices, the bright and glori- 
ous sky, which imparted to it the semblance of a 
creation that had risen into being beneath the 
wand of the enchanter. 

The next day, my kind friend the editor of 
the Moniteur Ottoman accompanied me to the 
seraglio, the entr£ to which is considered a great 
favour. Here I had the pleasure of meeting 

with our intelligent countryman Dr. M , one 

of the medical attendants of the Sultan. After 
passing through a few apartments, which do not 
offer a single object worthy of notice, I made a 
promenade in the gardens ; badly laid out, and 
still worse kept, presenting nothing to admire, 
save a few cypresses and plane trees. 

Here we were met by Achmet Pacha, who 
most courteously conducted us into an apart- 
ment splendidly furnished, in which the Euro- 
pean and Oriental styles were blended with great 
taste. We were served with cofiee, sherbet. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 195 

and some very excellent confectionary : but 
as I have before given you an account of this 
description of oriental entertainment in my inter- 
view with the Pacha of the Dardanelles, I have 
here nothing to add, except thst this was quite 
as ceremonious, and more magnificent. The 
tchibouque of course followed ; and as I looked 
out upon the Bosphorus, and listened to the 
Sultan's fine band of military music in the court- 
yard, I must confess that I never smoked a pipe 
under more agreeable circumstances. 

After taking leave of our kind host, we passed 
on to the military school, situated in the third 
court, where the Osmanli cadets are educated in 
European tactics by Frank instructors, principally 
natives of Italy. Here I found everything indi- 
cated order, cleanliness, and good management ; 
and as some of the youthis were exercising, I was 
much pleased with the celerity and precision of 
their movements. 

One of the Frank instructors pointed out a 
young Kabardian,* whose dexterity in gymnase, 
archery, and all kinds of military exercises, he 
highly extolled ; adding, that he generally bore 

* I should not have alluded to the young Kabardian, if it 
were not that he has already left Stamboul for the land of 
his fathers, and is consequently beyond the reach of Russian 
persecution. 

O 2 



196 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

off the prize from his young competitors. He 
is a fine youth, the son of a chieftain in the 
province of Kabardia, in the Caucasus, and a 
great favourite with the Sultan, who, notwith- 
standing his advanced age, equals the athletic 
mountaineer in the strength and vigour with 
which he draws a bow. 

While conversing with the young Highlander 
upon the present state of his country, I was sur- 
prised at the enthusiastic tone of feeling he exhi- 
bited. His attachment to the land of his ances- 
tors was unbounded ; and his glowing description 
of the picturesque beauty of the country, the hos- 
pitality and friendly disposition of the inhabitants, 
increased the desire I had for some time enter- 
tained of visiting that most romantic of all coun- 
tries — Circassia. 

I was astonished at his eloquence, when expa- 
tiating upon the aggressive and unjust invasion 
of his country by Russia; and he exhibited all 
the fire of enthusiasm, as he anticipated the day 
when he should be at liberty to draw his sword 
in defence of the land of his ancestors ; and, like 
all mountaineers, spoke with passionate fondness 
of his native hills. 

His elegant manners, frankness, and, above all, 
intelligent conversation, for a youth of such limit- 
ed opportunities of acquiring knowledge, entirely 
dissipated every fear I might have entertained as 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 197 

• 

to venturing among the inhabitants of a country 
usually supposed to be little better than barba- \ 
rians. On learning my intention^ he gave me ^ 
an amulet, assuring me that, on presenting it to 
his father, I should be received as a friend ; also, 
on my arrival in the country, that the mention of 
his father's name to his compatriots would insure 
my safety in every part of the country through 
which I might travel. To the facilities thus so 
unexpectedly afforded, it was chiefly owing that I 
abandoned my intended tour through Hungary, 
and now decided, if f>ossible, to explore the coun- 
tries of the Caucasus. 

' On leaving the military school, we found the 
Sultan, with a numerous cortege of officers, in the 
court-yard ; together with the Russian ambassa- 
dor, M. Bouteneff, accompanied by Madame 
Nariskin and several Russians of high rank^ who 
had lately arrived to see '* the lions of Stamboul." 
This was indeed a proud day for Russia ; as the 
great Padishah of all the Osmanlis himself de- 
scended from his high dignity, and, in opposition 
to established custom, publicly paid his respects to 
the Giaour lady, expressing his hope, through the 
medium of a dragoman, that she had found every- 
thing in the capital agreeable to her wishes ; and 
concluded by saying, that he trusted she would 
present his regards to the emperor, his most 
faithful ally ! 



198 CONSTANTINOPLE. 



LETTER XX. 

TURKISH MILITARY — SULTAN MAMMOUD — HIS ACTIVITY — 
PASSION FOR MILITARY EXBRCISBS — THE YOUNG TURK- 
ISH PRINCES — THEIR EDUCATION — THE REFORMS OF THE 
SULTAN— DIFFICULTIES OF HIS SITUATION..1-RUSSIAN PRO- 
TECTION — ^ENFEEBLED STATE OF THE TURKISH EMPIRE 

— ADVANTAGES OF TURKISH COMMERCE TO ENGLAND. 

• 

Perhaps one of the most interesting among Sul- 
tan Mahmoud's plans for improving and civilising 
his people, is that of disciplining his army on the 
European system. Habited in his European uni- 
form, he is to be seen day after day, like Peter 
of Russia or Frederick the Great, drilling and 
manoeuvring his troops^ being perfectly con- 
scious that it is only by a well-organised army 
the integrity of his empire can be maintained. 
Comfortable barracks are built for them ; they 
receive regular pay and rations ; consequently 
are no longer the marauding bandits who preyed 
upon their fellow-citizens for subsistence only a 
few years since. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 199 

The men perform their evolutions with tolera^ 
ble precision, particularly when we consider the 
want of good officers, more especially subalterns 
and non-commissioned officers* As to the Sultan 
himself, I have frequently seen him manoeuvre a 
squadron of horse with as much skill as one of 
our own most accomplished cavalry officers. He 
is equally admirable as an equestrian ; hence it 
is, when riding ^ VEuropSenne, that he appears 
to the greatest advantage, his whole style and 
bearing bein^ that of a soldier. 

His personal appearance is also in his favour : 
his full jet-black beard and curling mustachios 
impart decision and boldness to a countenance 
still handsome ; his eye is large and serious, with 
the oriental arched eyebrow, which, together with 
the proud expression of his mouth and general , 
dignified demeanour, realises the idea of the man 
in whose veins runs the noblest blood of Asia — 
the monarch of the nation who planted the Cres- 
cent in Europe. Although from his age he may 
be said to be already verging towards the decline 
of life, his countenance still glows with health, 
which he owes to his passion for military exer- 
cises and constant exposure to the open air. 

How different from the triste expression and 
efieminate appearance which distinguished him 
in early life, and indeed that of his ancestors for 



200 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

centuries ; who, enervated by the debasing vices 
of the seraglio, and living in hourly dread of 
being massacred by a band of lawless ruffians, 
more resembling criminals doomed to destruction 
than the monarchs of a mighty empire : whereas 
their more fortunate descendant now gallops 
through the streets of Stamboul, or glides in his 
splendid kachamha over the Bosphorus, with as 
little danger of falling by the hand of the assassin 
as the most popular monarch of civilised Europe. 
The Sultan, during his excursions, is fre- 
quently accompanied by his two sons, fine-spi- 
rited young men, who are trained to every 
manly athletic exercise calculated to give energy 
and activity to the frame ; nor is the culture of 
their minds less diligently attended to, their 
education being superintended by men eminent 
for their talents and learning. They have also 
an enlightened preceptor in their father, who is 
a member of the republic of letters, and has 
composed some fine martial music : with such 
aids we may confidently predict that the future 
monarch of Turkey, unless some unforeseen 
event should intervene, will tread in the foot- 
steps of his reforming predecessor. In order 
still more to expand the minds and increase the 
knowledge of the young princes, it is even con- 
templated to add the advantage of foreign 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 20 1 

travel ; and, under the protection of their august 
parent, it is intended, this or the following year, 
that they shall visit the Grecian islands in the 
Archipelago. This infringement of the laws of 
the Koran shows a strong determination on the 
part of Mahmoud to emancipate himself from its 
trammels, the code of the Prophet expressly for- 
bidding the monarchs of Turkey, or any member 
of the imperial family, to quit the empire, except 
for the purpose of exterminating the infidels 
with fire and sword. 

Thus, in open violation of this command, we 
shall in all probability, at no distant period, see 
the heir to the throne of the Crescent travelling 
in Europe, and even visiting London. I assure 
you this is no common rumour, and how much 
is it to be desired ! The young prince will thus, 
indeed, have an opportunity of laying up a store 
of useful knowledge wherewith to enlighten his 
benighted people. 

Must we not then concede, that the illustrious 
chief who now wields the destinies of this much- 
fallen empire is a man of no common mind ? and 
that if he is spared to his country only a few years 
longer, and permitted by the fanatic priest to 
continue his career of reform, Turkey may yet 
be regenerated ? And assuredly the wisdom and 
good feeling exhibited in the evening of his reign. 






202 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

ivill shed a light over the darker shades that 
clouded his early days. If we review his political 
life with any degree of severity, we must reluc- 
tantly confess that his character is stained by 
many acts which truth will oblige the historian 
to stigmatise, not only as tyrannical, but cruel. 
However, in private life, it is universally admit- 
ted that he is a sincere friend, an affectionate 
father, and a kind master; and when we take into 
account the difficulties of his position, his imper- 
fect education, and the character of the people 
over whom he reigns, we shall feel inclined to 
make many allowances in his favour. 

Sultan Mahmoud has had, indeed, serious ob- 
stacles to contend with, powerful enemies to over- 
come; the destruction of the Janissaries will alone 
hand down his name to the latest posterity, and 
the numerous reforms he has effected in the in- 
stitutions of his country will for ever entitle him 
to her gratitude. He has found means com- 
pletely to curb the ambition and rapacity of the 
Pachas : previous to the restrictions he imposed 
upon them, the power they wielded was nearly 
absolute, extending even to life and death. 
Bribery is now denounced, extortion and vio- 
lence punished with the severest rigour, and in 
the courts of justice, formerly so corrupt, a bet- 
ter system of administration has been established. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 203 

Laws have been enacted, insuring the regular 
descent of hereditary property ; and a noble 
example of disinterested regard to justice has 
been set by the monarch himself, who has for ever 
waived the right of the crown to the property 
of its deceased ministers and Pachas, formerly 
grasped with eagerness by the reigning Sultans, 
— a source from which emanated many revolting 
crimes. By the imposition of a regular tax, the 
degraded rayah, the citizen, shopkeeper^ and 
agriculturist, are no longer exposed to the rapa- 
city of hordes of extortioners in authority. 

In addition to these, there is now a printing- 
press in Stamboul, which furnishes a newspaper 
and books for the intellectual wants of the people. 
Military schools have been established, national 
guards formed ; and it is to be hoped that the 
institution of a regular disciplined army will have 
the eJBPect of suppressing revolution at home, and 
of exciting awe and respect in the enemies of 
Turkey abroad. 

Still there is much to be done ; for although 
the lawless band exist no more, whose atrocities 
will long be remembered with horror, another 
band more powerfiil remains to be subdued — the 
priests. These, armed with the book of the Prophet 
and the law, possessed of spiritual and temporal 
power, of intelligence and cunning, interpose a 



204 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

serious obstacle to the work of the reforming 
mooarch ; and until this gigantic mass of preju- 
dice and superstition is dislocated, and their 
exclusive privileges abrogated, the civilisation 
of Turkey will be retarded. 

But to return to the military, here called the 
tacticoes. I cannot think that the Sultan has done 
wisely in substituting for his army their present 
unbecoming uniform instead of their ancient cos- 
tume, so well adapted to the customs and manners 
of the people.* The fSz is anything but an ap- 
propriate head-dress, being an indifferent defence 
against the inclemency of the weather or a sabre 
cut ; and the curtailment of the wide Turkish 
trowsers from their sufficing amplitude of propor- 
tion, as worn by the Osmanlis of old, has had the 
effect of displaying their bandy legs, a deformity 
frequently met with among the inhabitants of the 
East, and which very naturally results from the 
position in which they sit. Assuredly they would 
have made quite as good soldiers, if their more 
elegant and national costume had been retained ; 

* I understand from good authority that the Sultan, awa re 
of the inappropriateness of the present uniform of his troops, 
intends, after some little time, to restore the old Turkish 
costume, the other having only been adopted for the pur- 
pose of preparing his people to receive the more extensive 
reforms he meditates in their manners and customs. 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 205 

whereas, in their present dress, they appear the 
very ghosts of their fierce ancestors ; and those 
men, who now appear to the eye of a European 
military man an uncouth set of ragamuffins, 
with legs and neck uncovered, and shuffling 
papooshesy would, if habited in the ample folds 
of the turban, loose robe confined by a crimson 
shawl filled with pistols and poniard, be as mar- 
tial and fine-looking fellows as ever followed the 
standard of the Prophet. 

Although the exertions of the Sultan have, 
when we consider how short a space of time has 
elapsed since he commenced his reforms, pro- 
duced a striking effect on the military, the mass 
of the people have not improved in the same 
degree ; neither has their advancement kept 
pace with the activity displayed by their enter- 
prising ruler to regenerate them ; for, with the 
exception of the youths in the military schools, 
we rarely see any demonstrations of real national 
enthusiasm. Sometimes, indeed, we find a few 
daring spirits anxious to measure their swords 
with the hated Muscov's ; but in general the 
Turks of the present day are characterised by 
apathy and indolence, frequently exhibiting an 
attachment to effeminate vices, which render 
them objects of contempt to a high-spirited 
European. Whether we visit their fortifications. 



206 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

arsenals, or ships of war, we see the same torpid 
neglect, the same want of energy. Nor is the 
fine military teniLe and bold bearing of the troops 
by any means calculated to strike terror into the 
hearts of the enemies of Turkey. Besides the 
general slovenly appearance of the men, and the 
want of sufficient respect evinced by the privates 
towards their superior officers, there is no atten- 
tion whatever paid to dressing the lines, for we 
often see the roost meagre man in the company 
placed, as if for the purpose of looking ridiculous, 
in juxtaposition with the most corptilent, and 
a mere dwarf flanking a giant. However insig- 
nificant these trifles may appear in detail, yet be 
assured their eifect*upon the appearance of the 
troops is anything but favourable ; and their in- 
fluence upon the spectator accustomed to the 
well-drilled troops of Europe, produces no other 
feeling than contempt for an army composed of 
such materials. But it is while marching that 
the tacticoes look least soldier-like ; and I verily 
believe that the best drillmaster in Eui*ope could 
not completely wean an Osmanli from the in- 
tolerable shuffle and strut so peculiar to that 
people when in locomotion. 

Notwithstanding the martial bearing of thetac- 
tico is not calculated to command our admira- 
tion, he is not without his good qualities as 



CONSTANTINOPLE, 207 

a soldier ; he is more patient in adversity, and 
hardier in his habits, than the European ; and 
his utter contempt for all the comforts of life 
cannot be too highly prized. His bed, which is 
composed of nothing better than a strip of carpet, 
or a mat, with a coverlet made from camel or 
goats* hair, serves him alike in the camp and in 
the barrack; while one tremendotis caldron, 
cooks pilaw sufficient for the wants of a whole 
company. And when these are provided for him, 
which formerly was not always the case, he is as 
happy, and it may be happier, than the well-fed, 
well-lodged soldier of Europe. 

The want of a well-organised medical staff is 
one of the most glaring deficiencies in the Turk- 
ish army ; for the disciple of Mahomet, with all 
his fatalism, his determination to oppose mis- 
fortune with apathy, and pain with stoicism, 
would certainly speedily become sensible of the 
advantages of skilful medical treatment. That 
it would be impossible to form an efficient 
medical board from the natives is most certain, 
and to resort entirely to foreigners would involve 
many difficulties ; still it must be wished that 
something effective could be attempted to relieve 
the sufferings of the sick and wounded in the 
next war in which the Turks may be engaged. 

Nor is a medical staff the only desideratum of 



203 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

the Turkish army ; for the absence of a well-con- 
ducted itat^major is also seriously felt ; a defect 
which exposes it to all the evils resulting from 
mismanagement and irregularity, — evils which 
would be increased a hundredfold in time of war. 
Of this the Sultan is well aware ; but, owing to the 
ignorance and incapability of his agents, every 
attempt he has hitherto made to remedy it has 
failed. Again, the majority of the European 
instructors of the army are men whose character 
for military talent does not rank high; and as the 
Sultan, notwithstanding his firmness, has yielded 
to the solicitations of his people to be commanded 
only by officers professing Islamism, the Turks 
are not likely to make any very rapid progress in 
the military tactics of Europe. 

But this is not all : the protecting ally of the 
Sultan fearing, I suppose, that the ward should 
become too formidable for the guardian, never 
fails to discover a thousand objections, grounded 
on the real or supposed political opinions of 
every man of acknowledged military talent who 
has yet oflTered his services to the Turkish army. 
It is true the Grand Seigneur sometimes assumes 
a tone of independence, and we hear that the 
influence of his most faithful cousin is on the 
wane— that the counsels of England prevail ; the 
drooping spirits of the patriots are raised, when 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 209 

Id \ the whole of the boasts of the Sultan's man- 
liness evaporate at once before the simple nod 
of the little man in his castle at Buyuk-dere. 
How can it be otherwise ? The net of political 
intrigue is drawn too closely round the help- 
less victim to permit his escape : conscious of 
his weakness, and so often deserted by those 
whose interests are identified with his own, he 
is obliged to yield, unless he would see anarchy 
triumphant at home, and the enemy crossing his 
frontier. 

In my notices on the present state of the Turk- 
ish empire, I regret that I cannot colour my 
representations according to my wishes ; for not- 
withstanding Sultan Mahmoud has effected 
many important ameliorations in the social and 
political state of his people, we must be of the 
opinion, that unless he receives the most effectual 
aid and judicious counsel from the great European 
powers, interested from political motives in 
maintaining the independence of the Ottoman 
Porte, he will not be able, with all his patriotic 
exertions, to protect his country from the in- 
sidious designs of Russia; a power now more 
to be feared than at any other period, since 
she has assumed the title of Protector of Turkey ; 
and how ominous of evil is that title, Krim- 
Tartary, Georgia, Mingrelia, and the other ex- 

VOL. I. p 



210 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

tensive countries on the Black Sea, can testify 
by bitter experience ; for to them she also ex- 
tended her protection till they became succes- 
sively incorporated as fiefs of her mighty em- 
pire. 

The numerous hordes of Nogay Tartars, Kara- 
Kaitack Tartars, Calmucks, and Kiimucks, 
with a host of other wandering tribes of Tartars, 
too insignificant to mention in their distinctive 
appellations, and which inhabited the vast tracts 
of Besserabia, the banks of the Kouban, the 
Wolga, the Sea of Azow, the Caspian, and 
the Black Sea, — now exist no more ! The No- 
gay Tartars alone, under their last Sultan, 
Battei-Gherai, numbered fifty thousand fighting 
men, so late as the year 1780. The Tourgouth 
Tartars, more sagacious than their short-sighted 
brethren, in order to avoid the fate they saw 
impending, emigrated to China with their flocks 
and herds, to the amount of half a million of 
men ! What a solemn warning should this be 
to Sultan Mahmoud, and the Asiatic Princes 
on the frontiers of Russia, and how cautious 
should they be of relying on the faith, or the 
promises, of a power that knows no satiety in its 
territorial acquisitions! In all probability Po- 
land, like Krim-Tartary, should no political event 
frustrate the intention of the sovereigns of Russia, 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 21 1 

will, ere another half centary has passed over, 
also become so completely amalgamated with the 
empire of its iovadersi as to destroy every hope 
of its re-erection into an independent monarchy. 

But to return to the subject we are now 
more immediately discussing, Turkey ; centuries 
of despotism and barbarofis misrule have ope- 
rated the effect that might have been antici- 
pated — national feebleness. How then is it 
possible that the exertions of one individual 
however greats the energies of one man however 
powerful, can immediately infuse vigour and 
courage into its demoralised inhabitants ? We 
have already seen the Sangiac-sheriff displayed 
by the present Sultan without being responded 
to by the wonted enthusiasm of the disciples of 
Mahomet ; i^ then, the sacred standard has failed 
in arousing the energies of the Turk of our day, 
we fear that European tactics will also £etil in 
making heroes of a people destitute of public 
spirit. 

Without adverting to the ruinous state of the 
finances of the country, decay and wretchedness 
unfortunately characterise the whole of this im- 
mense empire, whether we wander in Europe 
or Asia. Where, then, are her resources to defend 
her independence, or carry on a protracted 
struggle in case of a war with Russia ? We may 

p 2 



212 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

therefore be assured that Turkey must eventually 
succumb either to the open violence or crafty 
arts of her wily enemy, unless she becomes 
closely allied to some European power, who has 
sufficient sagacity to defeat her intrigues, and 
sufficient resources to defy her threats : and 
what power, when we consider our Asiatic pos- 
sessions, and the menacing attitude assumed 
towards us by Russia, is more interested in main- 
taining the independence of Turkey than Eng- 
land herself? 

Indeed, it is surprising how Sultan Mahmoud 
has been able single-handed to procrastinate 
the final fall of his empire even to the present 
day, when we consider the loss of his fine fleet at 
Navarino, and the numerous difficulties with 
which he is beset : pressed on one side by the 
demoralising influence of Russian intrigues, and 
on the other by the open rebellion of the 
viceroy of Egypt, Mehemet Ali. Besides all 
this, there is hardly a Turk, rich or poor, 
that does not lead a life of indolence owing to 
the insecure tenure of property under former 
rulers and the rapacity of a host of pachas and 
governors of provinces. With a soil rich to ex- 
uberance. Sultan Mahmoud is doomed to see his 
subjects obliged to purchase grain from their 
neighbours. With seas open at all hours, with 



CONSTANTINOPLE. 2 1 3 

ports protected from every wind of heaven, 
where are his merchantmen, that nursery so 
necessary to man his fleet in the event of war ? 

In addition to this he must reluctantly wit- 
ness the whole of the commerce, that ought to 
enrich his own people, pass through the hands 
of speculative foreigners, who cannot have any 
patriotic feelings for a country in which they 
are allowed, owing to the fanaticism and ex- 
clusiveness of the disciples of Mahomet, so small 
a share of interest ; remaining for ever, with 
their descendants, strangers in the land which 
gave them birth. 

During the few years the olive branch has been 
waving over this devoted empire, it must be 
confessed that our trade has considerably in- 
creased, but it is by no means equal to what it 
ought to be when we consider the number of 
British merchants resident in all the principal 
trading towns ; the commercial enterprise of the 
English nation in general; the population of 
Turkey, its want of manufactures, and the facili- 
ties it offers to commerce by means of the 
number of seas, with their fine ports and 
harbours, that abound in every part of the 
country. With all these advantages, I cannot but 
think that we have shown great supineness in 
not availing ourselves of our position, weight, 



2 1 4 CONSTANTINOPLE. 

and influence, to form a commercial alliance* 
with the Ottoman Porte ; for let it be remembered 
that our trade with the Turkish Empire is ex- 
tremely profitable, subjected to little or no 
obstruction, entirely carried on in our own ships, 
and it must be conceded that in no part of the 
woiid is the trader, or even the traveller, exposed 
to fewer inconveniences. 

Independently of any selfish considerations, a 
more extensive commerce would produce most 
beneficial effects upon the character and indus- 
try of the Turkish people ; and if a reciprocal 
feeling of good-will were encouraged, it would 
probably be highly instrumental in working the 
salvation of the much-debased empire of the 
Ottoman. The Turks would then, assured of 
the support at least of one of the great christian 

* Since these volumes have appeared, a[coniinercia] alliance, 
highly favourable to England, has been concluded with 
the Ottoman Porte, which reflects the highest credit upon 
our government, and upon the diplomatic talent of Lord 
Ponsonby, our ambassador at Constantinople. A commer- 
cial alliance which, it is to be hoped, will have the effect of 
counteracting the designs of Russia on the independence 
of Turkey, of civilising the inhabitants, and of reviving 
the kindly feeling with which the Turks have ever regarded 
their ancient, may I not add, their natural ally, England. In- 
deed the activity recently displayed by her Majesty's minister 
of foreign affairs in every subject relating to the East, the 



CONSTANTINOPLE . 215 

powers^ be aroused from the listless apathy 
into which they have fallen, and again become, 
as of old, the fierce defenders of their country, 
and the resistless enemy of that only European 
power that seeks to rob^ them of their indepen- 
dence. 

remonstrances addressed by Mr. M*Neil, our envoy to the 
Schahof Persia, respecting Herat, the movement of British 
troops towards the frontier of Persia, the junction of the 
Ottoman and English fleets last summer in the Turkish 
Seas, together with the late commercial treaties entered 
into with Austria, seem to warrant the hope that no means 
will be left untried to arrest the aggression of Russia, and 
thereby defeat the plans of an insidious enemy, who has been 
long secretly endeavouring to undermine our power and 
prosperity in every part of the world. 



216 DEPARTURE FOR ODESSA. 



LETTER XXI. 

DEPARTURE FOR ODESSA — THE BOSPHORUS — STEAM-BOAT— 
PASSEl^GERS — KARAITE JEWS — SERPENTS* ISLAND LE- 
GENDS CONNECTED WITH IT — ARRIVAL AT ODESSA — LORD 
DURHAM— HIS SILENT RECEPTION AT ODESSA INDIGNA- 
TION — LAZARETTO — RUSSIAN DINNER — ITALIAN OPERA 

SIGNOR MARINI— HOTEL DB RICHELIEU. 

It has been already said, and with truth, that 
travellers are the slaves of circumstances. As for 
myself, I must confess that I have rarely found 
my route to correspond with my original inten- 
tions : and now, having received an invitation 
to visit South Russia, before my departure for 
Circassia, I am about to avail myself of the steam- 
boat conveyance to Odessa, Therefore I must, 
for the present, terminate my sketches of Stam- 
boul and the Osmanlis. 

I hope, however, on my return, to be able to 
give you more interesting details ; as I shall then 
have extended my tour over a larger portion of 
the Turkish empire, become more familiar with 
the inhabitants, and better enabled to contrast 



THE BOSPHORUS. 217 

the actual state and resources of the country 
with that of its ambitious neighbour : unless, 
indeed, I should be detained as a slave ; or, as 
my Russian friends prophesy, roasted as a deli- 
cate morsel in honour of some grand national 
festival ! 

The evening I left Stamboul, the weather was 
remarkable for its loveliness ; and as our vessel 
wound her way to the Euxine, through the Bos- 
phorus, the unruffled surface of that beaiMiful 
channel reflected the whole firmament, and gave 
back in softened tints the ever-varying colours 
of the departing sun, which still glowed in the 
west. Not a cloud darkened the heavens, and 
every breath of the light, balmy air, seemed to 
fan creation to repose ; and I do not think I ever 
experienced, in a greater degree, that peculiar 
buoyancy which this delightful climate inspires : 
It seemed to impart health to the pulse, and 
elasticity to the spirit. 

My voyage was, indeed, most agreeable ; for, 
with the exception of a slight thunder-storm, the 
weather continued uninterruptedly fine till we 
arrived at Odessa.* The captain of the steamer 
was an Englishman, of the name of Covey, which 
surprised me the more, for his vessel (Russian 

* The fare, from Constantinople to Odessa, is a hundred 
and fifty paper roubles. 



218 PASSENGERS IN THE STEAM-BOAT. 

built,) nvas by no means kept in that neat order 
and regularity which usually characterise our 
compatriots at home and abroad. He, however, 
excused himself by saying, that it was impossible 
to preserve order in a vessel manned by Rus- 
sians, whom he represented as lazy, stupid, and 
obstinate. 

On descending into the cabin, I found the 
Russian ambassador, M. Bouteneff, and a large 
party of Russian nobles with their families. His 
excellency — however much he may be opposed 
to English interests, in private life^ is an amiable 
and excellent man, did not accompany us 
any farther than his country seat at Buyukdere, 
on the Bosphorus. There was also Madame 
Nariskin, and her suite, a nephew of General 
Nariskin, and their medical attendant, M. Titus 
Vanzetti, an intelligent young man, an Italian, 
and author of several clever professional works : 
and I was not more pleased than astonished to 
behold among the passengers, my old compagnon 
de voyage^ the Hungarian nobleman, from whose 
originality of character I was certain to derive 
much amusement. He was now, notwithstanding 
his late hydrophobical horror of water, again 
about to resign himself to the protection of the 
naiads, his fears of the plague, which had just 
made its appearance in Constantinople, being 



KARAITE JEWS. 219 

greater than hi8 dread of shipwreck ; as, in his 
haste to escape, he could not even wait a few 
days for the return of the Danube steam-boat, 
but took the more circuitous route of returning 
home by Odessa. 

Upon the whole, I was much pleased with the 
appearance of my companions, and flattered my- 
self with the hope of a pleasant voyage, in which 
I was not disappointed. There were, besides, a 
variety of other characters that emerged from the 
second cabin, a motley tribe enough of Greeks, 
Jews, and Armenian traders; all more or less 
interesting, from their habits and manners, to a 
stranger. 

I was particularly struck with a gaunt, ill-fa- 
voured-looking Karaite Jew, and his wife, a 
very pretty woman, apparently not more than 
sixteen, the magnificence of whose attire would 
have done honour to a Sultana. Yet, though 
the lady's dress was valued by my fellow-pas- 
sengers to at least three or four thousand rou- 
bles, still, in singular contrast with this exter- 
nal splendour, she and her husband lived on the 
contents of a basket they brought with them, 
consisting of the plainest food, and appeared total 
strangers to everything like domestic comfort. 
In order to avoid the trifling expense of a berth 
in the second cabin, they slept during the night 



220 serpents' island. 

on a pallet, exposed to the dews of heaven ; and 
amused themselves by day with occasionally dis-> 
encumbering their persons of certain little creep- 
ing plagues, whose name out of respect to my 
fair readers I forbear to mention. 

I cannot, however, part from the dark -eyed Jew- 
ess without giving you a description of her dress, 
the possession of which would have made the hearts 
of many of the daughters of Eve dance with joy. 
We shall commence with her head-dress, com- 
posed of a sort of turban embroidered with gold, 
from which a chain of pearls was suspended across 
her forehead, that nearly touched her eyebrows. 
A purple velvet jacket, over a white silk dress, 
embroidered with gold, enveloped her form ; and 
a massive gold chain, of the most exquisite work- 
manship, several times encircled her neck ; while 
bracelets of the same material, enriched with 
precious stones; superb earrings, and a multitude 
of rings on her fingers^ completed her costume, 
and showed that her husband, at least, did not 
regard expense in adorning his pretty little cara 
sposa. 

When within six or seven hours' voyage of 
Odessa, we fell in with the current of the Da- 
nube, and immediately after passed Serpents' 
Island, the only one in the Black Sea ; from the 
view we obtained, it appeared about an English 
mile and a half long, and principally composed 



serpents' island. 221 

of barren cliffs with little or no vegetation, which 
form a secure retreat for great numbers of sea- 
birds, and no doubt originated its ancient name, 
Leuce (white island). 

It appears to have been an object of great 
interest to the ancients. Some affirm it was 
sacred to Achilles, and given him by Thetis; 
at all events, it contained his statue, and a tem- 
ple dedicated to his worship. Pindar called it 
the '* Conspicuous Island :" Euripides, *' the 
White Shores of Achilles :" while Strabon and 
Arrien described it as Leuce, the "White Is- 
land," which name it still retains, in conjunction 
with its modem appellation, ^' Serpents' Island." 
Various absurd reports and traditions are current 
among the Greek, Russian, and Turkish mariners 
that navigate this sea ; the most generally cre- 
dited being, that it is infested by supernatural 
serpents of enormous size, which keep guard over 
boundless treasures, and devour every human 
being who has the temerity to land. Strange to 
say, we find in the Records of Ammianus Mar- 
cellinus, that a similar belief existed even in his 
days. 

So firmly, indeed, is this superstitious opinion 
impressed upon the mariners of the Black Sea at 
the present time, that not a single man belong- 
ing to the crew of any ship would venture to 



222 serpents' island. 

trust his safety to the mercy of the hissing inha- 
bitants of " Serpents' Island." 

As a land-mark, the island is of great service 
to the mariner, in consequence of the fogs which 
frequently hang over this part of the Black Sea, 
and the lowness of the coasts about the mouths 
of the Danube. Even when the atmosphere is 
hazy, the friendly snow-white plumage of the 
birds, which continually hover around, proclaims 
its vicinity : hence its original name Leuce, 
(white island,) appears peculiarly appropriate. 

At the expiration of fifty hours, we arrived at 
Odessa, which at first sight somewhat reminded 
me of Brighton. The fine range of noble build- 
ings on the cliffs, including the palace of the 
governor, resembled the Marine Parade: nor 
was the likeness diminished by the total absence 
of foliage ; for the miserable acacias on the Boule- 
vards, the only trees, by-the-bye, that flourish 
in this inhospitable soil, are not sufficient to 
relieve the white glare of the buildings. 

I had now to undergo the tedium of fourteen 
days' quarantine ; but being favoured with the 
society of several friends, I passed my time as 
agreeably as my temporary confinement would 
admit, for owing to the frequent visits Odessa has 
had from the plague, the quarantine regulations 
are severely enforced. Nor were they relaxed 



QUARANTINE. 223 

even in favour of Lord Durham, who passed 
through this town, on his route to St. Petersburg, 
some time previous to my arrival. 

His lordship's visit, however, had the effect 
of sadly discomposing the authorities, and afford- 
ing subject matter of conversation to the quiet 
people of Odessa for months ; for when the 
vessel arrived in the port with our well-known 
red-cross banner, she fired the usual salute, an- 
nouncing that the representative of Great Britain 
was on board ; when lo 1 the guns of the fort were 
silent : the salute was repeated ; still the same 
portentous silence. Even our consul-general 
was silent : for the very good reason, he hap- 
pened to be absent. Here was dishonour to the 
flag of the greatest nation in the world ! His 
lordship stormed, the captain stamped with rage ; 
even the least choleric among the officers thought 
the conduct of the Russians extraordinary. 

What could be the reason ? was echoed by all 
on board. Perhaps the insult was personal ; 
perhaps his lordship, as chief of all the radicals, 
was not a palatable representative to the chief of 
all the despots. 

At length, the officers of the quarantine made 
their appearance, and not being prepared to offer 
a satisfactory explanation, his lordship penned a 
spirited remonstrance, not a little tinged with 



224 QUARANTINE. 

anger, to the governor-general ; in which the 
insults and indignities he had received were 
energetically and eloquently set forth. 

The effect of the missive was electrical ; go- 
vernor-general, commander of the forces, officers, 
consul, vice-consul, all were in dismay, for they 
knew to appease the ire of an angry man is not 
an easy undertaking. However, on explaining 
the real cause, namely, that it was against the 
port regulations to give or return a salute later 
than seven in the evening, (his lordship having 
arrived after that hour,) the storm subsided, like 
the clouds retiring from the face of the sun ; and 
his majesty's representative most graciously con- 
descended to receive every attention, courtesy, 
and honour that could possibly be rendered by 
the authorities to an ambassador. Indeed, no 
disrespect could have been intended by the au- 
thorities of Odessa ; for Lord Durham is, I under- 
stand, a great favourite with the emperor and the 
court of St. Petersburg. 

The quarantine establishment is altogether 
well conducted. The situation, on the summit of 
a chain of small hills, is not only healthy but 
pleasant, commanding as it does a fine view of the 
sea, which here forms an extensive bay. The 
different suites of apartments are so extensive, as 
almost to form a little town ; each separate tene- 



QUARANTINE. 225 

ment has its small court planted with acacias : 
besides this, we had a public promenade, a res- 
taurant, and a conversation -room • So that you 
see the Russian government have endeavoured 
to render the confinement as little irksome as 
detention can be to a traveller. 

Still it must be observed, that the traveller 
who arrives here unprovided with a bed and 
other comforts, will find himself condemned to 
experience many inconveniences ; unless he is, as 
was my own case^ possessed of kind friends, who 
supplied me with everything I could desire, 
including what was indeed most welcome, — not 
only the latest English periodical publications, 
but some of the latest daily papers ; and I should 
be wanting in common gratitude, were I not to ex- 
press how deeply I feel indebted to Count Wor- 
renzow, and General Leon and Madame Nariskin, 
for their very friendly and polite attentions* 

Having been engaged, on my emancipation 
from my temporary confinement, to dine with 
General Nariskin, I will give you the ceremonial 
of a Russian dinner ; which after all differs in no 
respect from our own, except that the gentlemen 
do not sit after dinner to enjoy a little political 
chit-chat over a bottle of wine ; and previous to 
passing into the sails ct wxmger^ the company are 
served with caviare, anchovy sandwiches, olives, 

VOL. I. Q 



226 ITALIAN OPERA. 

and liqueur glasses of brandy, with the intention 
of creating an appetite. The conversation was 
generally carried on in French, for it appears 
that the Russian language is not fashionable 
among the high-born aristocrats of this country ; 
and I could not help noticing the facility with 
which many of the party spoke several European 
languages. This aptitude as linguists, I have 
always found to characterise the Russian people ; 
and out of a large party now assembled, the 
greater number addressed me in English, with 
only a very slight foreign accent. You may, 
therefore, easily imagine what an advantage this 
accomplishment confers upon a Russian, when 
engaged in affairs of diplomacy. 

In the evening, I accompanied my host and 
his family to the Italian Opera, // Furioso: 
the character of the " maniac " was well per- 
formed by Signer Marini, who would have done 
honour to the theatre of a capital ; and the 
elegance of the scenery, dresses, and decorations, 
showed that the inhabitants of Odessa fully ap- 
preciate the charms of the drama. 

During the few days I remained in Odessa, I 
took up my quarters at the Hotel de Richelieu, 
an establishment for which the traveller is in- 
debted to Count Worrenzow, who built and 
furnished it at his own expense; it being the 



HOTEL AT ODESSA. 227 

custom in this country for travellers to carry with 
them the whole of the articles necessary for the 
table and couch, particularly the latter : conse- 
quently, previous to this, strangers arriving in 
Odessa were condemned to suffer much incon- 
venience. I found the charges at the hotel 
moderate, the attendants civil : the obliging po- 
liteness of the French landlord apparent in every 
trifling aet of courtesy ; and the cleimlitiess of his 
wife, a native of Germany, visible throughout the 
house. 



a 2 



INTBRIOB OP A TABTAB COTTAGE. 



LETTER XXII. 



STKAH-BOAT VOVAGB TO YALTA— ENGLISH MATE — FIBST AS- 
PECT OP EBIH TABTABV DISAFPQINTMBNT — HONA9TKBY 

OP ST. OEDBOE — 1TB GREAT ANTIQUITY — BALACLAVA 

ALOOPXA — SCKNEBV VILLAS OF TUB BUSSIAN NOBtLtTY— 

IHPKOVBD ASPECT OP THE COUNTBV — ABBIVAL AT YALTA. 

It is very seldom, in this world of crosses and 
disappoiDtments, that mortal maa finds cause to 
be grateful to his planets ; but I certainly feel 
bound formally to return thanks to mine, for con- 
ducting me at this juncture to Odessa, as imme- 
diately on my arrival, Count Worrenzow, gover- 
nor-general of South Russia, invited me in the 
most friendly manner to accompany him on a 
coasting expedition round the Black Sea. 



VOYAGE TO YALTA. 229 

I took ray departure in the steam-boat, or, as it 
is here called, . the joemcap, for Yalta in the 
Crimea, the count having gone thither to make 
arrangements for the voyage. The periscap is 
a pretty little vessel, English built ; the mate and 
engineer were also English, the former defcxto 
the captain ; but being unacquainted with the 
Russian language, the proprietors had given the 
nominal command to a person, who had no other 
qualification save that which the Englishman 
wanted. Hence, their friendship was about as 
ardent as that which may be supposed to exist 
between the pet wife of a Turkish Effendi, who 
calls herself mamma of half a dozen turbaned 
cherubs, and the other dear pet who is denied 
the privilege of having one. 

So long, however, as this problematical friend- 
ship was confined to words, or rather violent pan- 
tomimic gestures, the passengers were not much 
annoyed ; but when they proceeded to more ac- 
tive demonstrations, we could have wished that 
the duties and the name of captain had been con- 
fided to the same person. 

The majority of the passengers were Russian 
noblemen, on their way to join the party of the 
count on his coasting expedition, with a few of 
the citizens of Odessa to take a summer's ramble 
in the mountains of the Crimea ; that country be* 



230 FIRST ASPECT OF KRIM TARTARY. 

ing denominated, by the admirers of its scenery, 
the Switzerland of South Russia. 

The first aspect of the Crimea does not cor- 
respond with the exaggerated description I had 
received from my Russian friends ; who, accus- 
tomed to the monotonous steppes that charac- 
terise the greatest part of the Moscovite empire, 
are in raptures at the very sight of a moun- 
tain, and magnify these that skirt the south coast 
of the peninsula into stupendous Alps, replete with 
every feature that can constitute a landscape at 
once sublime and picturesque. This is so far 
from being the fact, that the scenery presents 
nothing better than a range of lofty hills, com- 
posed of black rock and volcanic-like peaks, de- 
scending precipitously to the sea, with scarcely a 
span of land between them and the water's edge, 
exhibiting merely here and there a patch of under- 
wood, intermingled with broad masses of burnt- 
up scoria-like matter. 

These characteristics are aggravated to the eye 
of the traveller while coasting ; for then the few 
trees look like shrubs, and the vaunted Alps dwin- 
dle into low hills. Indeed, it is not till we arrive 
at the convent dedicated to St. George, roman- 
tically situated on the brow and summit of pro- 
jecting and apparently inaccessible rocks, that the 
landscape presents anything like a picturesque 
object. 



MONASTERY OF ST. GEORGE. 231 

This monastery, still inhabited by a society of 
monks of the Greek religion, is composed of a 
pretty-looking church, refectory, and several de- 
tached cottages with terraced gardens ; and if we 
may credit the accounts generally received, is 
deeply interesting to the historian and antiquarian, 
for we are assured that it occupies the site of the 
temple of Diana, the Orestea Dea of Ovid, and 
the demon virgin of Strabon. This supposition 
is founded upon the writings of Strabon and Hero- 
dotus, and the monks pretend to have discovered 
the pedestal that supported the golden statue of 
the goddess, together with the identical rock upon 
which the priestess Iphigenia, the daughter of Aga- 
memnon, reposed, while meditating a favourable 
moment to immolate her brother. This famous 
temple is mentioned in the Iliad, which tells us 
that all the unfortunate mariners shipwrecked on 
the shores of this inhospitable country, were sacri- 
ficed to the insatiable goddess. 

Soon after passing the convent, we came in 
sight of the fine bay and castellated heights of 
Balaclava, now for the most part a heap of ruins. 
This town was described by Strabon, when treat- 
ing of the Taurica Chersonesus, as the Portus 
Symbolorum, when it formed one of the prin- 
cipal cities of the Heracleotic peninsula. On the 
destruction of that independent state Balaclava 



232 BALACLAVA. 

remained in ruins till the establishment of the 
Genoese in the Crimea, who, sensible of the value 
of the bay as a port, rebuilt the town, fortified the 
adjoining heights, and gave their new creation 
the name of Bella-Clava, (the beautiful port,) 
since corrupted to Balaclava. Under the rule of 
the Genoese, one of the most enterprising and 
commercial people of the middle ages, it again 
enjoyed a long career of prosperity, until their 
expulsion from the Crimea by the Turks, who 
plundered the town and left it in ruins; and 
thus it has remained till the present day. 

This beautiful bay has the appearance of a 
lovely river winding through the mountains^ being 
about an English mile in length, and at its greatest 
breadth not more than a quarter of a mile, and so 
narrow at the entrance as scarcely to afford a pas- 
sage for two moderate-sized vessels to pass abreast. 
The anchorage is everywhere safe, with a depth 
of water sufficient to receive the largest ships ; 
while the surrounding hills afford a never-failing 
protection against every wind, however violent. 

Still, notwithstanding the bay of Balaclava 
offers these very peculiar advantages, and is in 
every respect so admirably calculated for a com- 
mercial harbour, yet the entrance is not only 
closed against foreign vessels, but even those 
carrying the Russian flag : it being presumed 



ALOUPKA. 233 

by the long-headed minister at St. Petersburg, 
that the position of the bay and the mountainous 
character of the country afford facilities to illicit 
traffic too tempting to be resisted ; and it was 
only very recently that Count Worrenzow ob- 
tained the sanction of the government to permit 
vessels in stress of weather to seek here shelter 
and safety. The measure was the more impera- 
tive, as this part of the coast of the peninsula 
presents a range of abrupt cliffs, most dangerous 
to the mariner in tempestuous weather, and too 
often fatal before the security of this haven was 
afforded. 

On approaching Aloupka, the scenery continued 
to improve in beauty; nay, it might almost be 
termed sublime. Rocks lay piled upon rocks in 
chaotic disorder, over which rose in lofty gran- 
deur the gigantic mountain Ai Petri, three thou- 
sand five hundred feet above the level of the sea. 
There was also a greater appearance of fertility 
than I had previously witnessed : the whole space 
between the towering cliffs and the sea, forming 
a splendid panorama, presented one mass of the 
richest foliage ; terraced vineyards adorned the 
hills, mingling their lighter green with the dark 
cold pine of the mountain ; while the miniature 
valleys beneath glowed with the clustering cots 
of the Tartars, and their pretty little mosques 
and slender minarets. 



234 CHATEAU OF COUNT WORRENZOW. 

Nor were these the only interesting features 
in this highly-favoured spot ; for here and there 
were to be seen the neat villa, well-kept garden, 
and tiny park of the wealthy Russian noble. 
There was also the magnificent chateau of Count 
Worrenzow with its castellated towers, which 
seemed to look proudly down on its more humble 
neighbours, in all the feudal grandeur of by-gone 
days. 

Indeed, the whole of the country between 
Aloupka and the port of Yalta, which we were 
now fast approaching, is the most beautiful and 
fertile on the south coast of the Crimea ; and 
having the advantage of being protected from 
fhe cold northern winds by the high mountains, 
the climate is mild, and considered highly fa- 
vourable to the health of invalids. Here the 
fruits of more southern climes attain the highest 
perfection ; therefore you cannot be surprised to 
hear that every spot is cultivated to its highest 
capabilities. The very rocks have been con- 
verted into gardens and vineyards, and carriage- 
roads and avenues conducted, at a great expense 
and labour, along the shelving sides of the hills 
to the dizzy heights above. 

The most distinguished country seats of the 
Russian nobility pointed out to me, were those 
of General Leon Nariskin, Prince Galitzin, and 



YALTA. 236 

Count de Witt; and as these gentlemen were 
then at their villas, they welcomed us as we 
passed with successive discharges of cannon, and 
at the same time the banner of each family, in 
true baronial style, was instantaneously unfurled. 

Our vessel now made a slight detour, and ran 
in to the pretty curving bay of Yalta. Here we 
were again received with a deafening salute from 
the shore, and also from the Russian ships of war 
at anchor in the port. The scene at this moment 
was highly picturesque ; the sun still glowed in 
all its glory in the cloudless heavens, the bay 
itself, blue as the azure sky, was crisped with a 
slight refreshing breeze. Numbers of Tartar 
fishermAi in their primitive costume, and still 
more primitive boats, were resting on their oars 
around the Iphigenia corvette, listening in won- 
dering admiration to the fine band playing on its 
quarter-deck. Sailors were leaning carelessly on 
their guns, and the officers, clustered in groupes, 
were waving their caps to welcome us to Yalta. 

The little town itself, nestling in a curve of the 
sea, appeared like a crescent of white buildings, 
over which rose an amphitheatre of gently swell- 
ing hills, upon whose sides hung, in the midst of 
terraced vineyards, several pretty modern houses, 
together with a Tartar village. A little further, 
a dancing stream was seen descending from a 



236 YALTA • 

mountain gorge ; while, to judge from the multi- 
tudes who covered the shore and filled the bal- 
conies of the houses, it would appear as if the 
whole population of Yalta and the surrounding 
country had assembled to witness our arrival. 
The variety of costume, the gay uniform of the 
officers, the gaudy liveries of the servants, and 
the singular dresses of the Tartars, added not a 
little to the novelty and animation of the picture. 
Perhaps you may think I have dwelt too long 
on such scenes as these ; but, independently of 
the interest I take in retracing them^ I regard 
them as evidences of the progress of civilisation 
in this remote and long-neglected country. It 
was indeed altogether a glorious picture of civili- 
sation, introduced too by the barbarian hordes o^ 
the north ! and when compared with the degraded 
state of the Turkish provinces I had just left, a 
striking exemplification of the difference between 
the tendency of Mahometanism and Christianity. 
The one dams up at its source the current of im- 
provement, leaving society and its institutions 
stationary for centuries ; while the other not only 
purifies the stream of iuind, but leaves it free to 
pass onward, and enlighten each succeeding age 
with a greater degree of knowledge than its 
predecessor. 

Yalta, quite a little town, With good hotels. 



YALTA. 237 

post-office, post for horses, and every conveni- 
ence for the traveller, is entirely the creation of 
Count Worrenzow. The houses are well built, 
the streets prettily laid out, and an air of com- 
mercial improvement everywhere visible ; and 
from the security of the harbour, and other com- 
mercial advantages, Yalta has every chance of 
becoming a prosperous town. 

On landing, we were met by his excellency 
the governor-general and the principal nobility 
of the country ; and as horses were provided, we 
all mounted and rode to Massandra, a country 
seat belonging to the count, about a league 
distant ; his chateau, then building at Aloupka, 
not being sufficiently completed for the reception 
of company. 



238 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 



LETTER XXIII. 

VOYAGE TO CIRCAS8IA WITH COUNT WORRBNZOW — TRAVEL- 
LINO GUESTS OF HIS EXCELLENCY — AGREEABLE SAILING 

THEODOSIA — ILLUMINATIONS — RECEPTION OF THE GOVER- 
NOR-GENERAL — ANCIENT SPLENDOUR OF THE TOWN — 
RUINED STATE OF ITS COMMERCE — CAVIARE — CIMMERIAN 
BOSPHORUS — ARRIVAL AT KERTCH. 

The day had now arrived for the commencement 
of our intended voyage round the coast of the 
Black Sea, to which I looked forward with the 
greatest interest, for none similar had been per- 
formed since the days of Roman grandeur ; and as 
this was undertaken in obedience to the express 
command of the Emperor Nicholas, every pos- 
sible means were devised to impart eclat, and to 
assimilate it with that executed under the aus* 
pices of the conquerors of the world. 

We embarked in the government steam -boat, 
Peter the Great, convoyed by the Iphigenia 
corvette, commanded by Captain Poothatin, and 
a cutter : these armed vessels were not altogether 
for useless parade, as, judging by the accounts 



VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 239 

received from some officers just arrived from the 
theatre of war in Circassia, it appeared highly 
probable that an attack would be made upon us 
by the warlike tribes of the Caucasus, who were 
then carrying on a deadly war against the Rus- 
sians. 

Our party consisted of his excellency, Count 
Worrenzow, whom yee may term the autocrat of 
the expedition ; his subjects being the Count 
de Witt, commander-in-chief of the Russian 
cavalry, Prince Galitzin, Prince Tchetrerchinski, 
and other princes, whose names I never could 
pronounce or write; Mr. Yeames, the consul- 
general of England, M • St. Sauveur, the consul- 
general of France, together with aides-de-camp, 
officers civil and military, doctors, historiogra- 
phers, artists, and gentlemen without number. 
Nor were we without the fairer portion of 
creation : besides the lady of our autocrat, we 
had Mesdames Nariskin, Potocky, de Choiseul, 
&c. 

Every preparation being completed, and an 
American, M. Sontag, a rear-admiral in the Rus- 
sian service, having assumed the command of the 
expedition, we left Yalta with a fair but light 
breeze, which soon dropped into a dead calm, 
obliging the steamer to take the corvette in tow. 
The commencement of pur voyage was the per- 



240 ALOUCHTA. 

feet ideal of sailing, such as poets may dream of, 
but is seldom realised in the experience of mor- 
tals ; for unless a thunder-storm should occur, 
this part of the Black Sea is seldom agitated by 
any swell during the summer months, and now 
it merely changed from a glossy calm to a fea- 
thery ripple ; while the slight murmur of the 
foam before the prow of the corvette was not suf- 
ficient even to overpower the lighter passages 
of the music, as it floated occasionally beyond 
the bulwarks, and was re-echoed by the rocky 
coast. 

In truth, the elements appeared to have made 
a league in our favour ; the motion of the vessel 
was scarcely perceptible ; the temperature of the 
air was both physically and mentally invigora- 
ting ; and, instead of the fatigue and privations 
which too often beset the path of the traveller 
when on shore, we now glided from bay to bay, 
from port to port. Agreeable society chased 
ennui from the mind, and the provident fore- 
thought of our kind host prevented the intrusion, 
not only of a want, but even of a wish. 

The same chain of rocks that guard the south- 
em coast continued our companions, but they did 
not improve on acquaintance ; for, with tlie ex- 
ception of the country around Alouchta, and that 
between Yalta and Aloupka, with which I have 



THEODOSIA. 241 

already endeavoured to familiarise you, the 
scenery is not calculated to impress the traveller, 
who sails along the coast, either with its beauty 
or fertility. 

The first port at which our little fleet came to 
anchor, wasTheodosia ; andrunningin with a fair 
wind, it was immediately known that we had on 
board the governor-general ; when the flags of 
every vessel in the harbour streamed in the wind, 
and a deafeningsaluteof cannon welcomed us from 
the shore and the ships. On landing, we found 
the governor of the Crimea, M. Katznacheef, 
with the principal inhabitants of the town, and 
the military under arms, ready to receive the 
count with all the honours due to his high rank. 

After the introductory compliments had passed, 
we were invited to partake of a grand entertain- 
ment, prepared at the residence of the governor. 
All was bustle and animation ; the whole popula- 
tion of the town, dressed in their finery, appear- 
ed to line the beach and the streets through which 
we passed. In the evening the town, together 
with the ships in the harbour, were brilliantly illu- 
minated ; and as Theodosia is built at the base, 
and on the shelving sides of a semi-circular chain 
of hills, the prospect from the sea, presenting 
as it now did one blaze of light, was truly mag- 
nificent. 

VOL. I. R 



242 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

I have been purposely somewhat diffuse in my 
accounts of our ceremonials, as they show^ not 
only the implicit deference paid to rank in this 
country, but also the high estimation in which 
this excellent man, Count Worrenzow, is held 
by the people ; for though the attention of the 
governor and military must be considered official, 
yet the popular homage was undoubtedly spon* 
taneous, and this was offered with a warmth and 
unanimity that fully evinced its sincerity. 

To judge from the situation, Theodosia, or, 
as it is now more generally called, Caffa, is well 
adapted for commerce: the anchorage is good, 
and that very near the shore ; and the bay is shel* 
tered from every wind, except the east and south- 
east, which I understand rarely blow in these 
seas with a violence to threaten serious danger 
to the mariner. 

The town is erroneously said to have been 
erected on the site of the ancient Theodosius, so 
famous in ancient history. Thus much, however, 
is certain ; that so flourishing was the state of its 
commerce, when in possession of the Genoese 
during the middle ages, that it contained a hun- 
dred and fifty thousand inhabitants; and, from 
the splendour of its public buildings, received the 
appellation of the Constantinople of the Crimea. 

The only remains now existing of the grandeur 



THEODOSIA. 243 

of its Italian masters, is a watch-tower in tole- 
rable preservation, and the massive ruins of the 
fortifications ; for being captured and plundered 
by the Turks in 1474, they destroyed the greater 
part of the town, and the few inhabitants that 
escaped the general wreck of their once-proud 
city, fled to other countries; whilst those that 
remained, sunk into degraded indolence and po- 
verty. It was, however, reserved for the Rus- 
sians, under the command of Paul Potemkin, 
brother of Prince Gregory, the celebrated fa- 
vourite of Catherine II., to complete the work 
of devastation, so truly and graphically described 
by Clarke when he visited the Crimea. Indeed, 
the name of that cruel and avaricious tyrant is 
still held in the deepest abhorrence, not only 
by the poor Tartars, but by his own countrymen, 
the Russians, and who never mention his name 
but with some epithet of reproach. How neces- 
sary, therefore, is it, that men in power should 
curb their evil propensities, and govern with 
moderation and justice, in order that their 
names (nay, even their country and descendants) 
may not be branded with infamy, and handed 
down to posterity as a proverb of all that is base 
and revolting in human nature. 

Theodosia is again slowly advancing towards 
prosperity, under the enlightened rule of its 

R 2 



244 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

present governor-general ; but, owing to the vi- 
cinity of Kertch, which is more advantageously 
situated for trade, its commerce at present is 
very trifling, being confined almost wholly to 
fish, which abound in the neighbouring seas, 
particularly turbot and sturgeon. The caviare 
made from the spawn of the latter is much es- 
teemed ; and the herrings, anchovi&s, and 
oysters, are excellent, and exported in lai^e 
quantities to the interior of Russia; as the long 
and frequent fasts imposed by the Greek church 
occasion a large consumption. 

On leaving Theodosia, we bade adieu to every- 
thing like beauty on the coast ; the rocks, whose 
foliage had already become very scanty, soon fell 
into a monotonous steppe, without a tree to relieve 
the aspect of the dreary waste ; and an occasional 
flock of sheep, with the hut of a Tartar, alone 
told that man was here a denizen. This desola- 
tion is the more extraordinary, as, according to 
the writings of Strabo, and even of the Genoese 
in the fifteenth century, we learn that the whole 
of the district lying between Theodosia on the 
Euxine and the Sea of Azov, produced such 
abundance of corn, as to receive the appellation 
of the granary of the Crimea ; thus affording 
another evidence, either of the deteriorating 
influence of the Mahometan rule, or that the 



ACCIDENT. 245 

climate has entirely changed since that pe- 
riod. 

Between the ports of Theodosia and Kertch 
an accident happened to the English consul, 
Mr. Yeames, which might have proved fatal. 
Owing to the total absence of wind, it became 
necessary that the steamer should be attached 
to the corvette for the purpose of towing her : the 
passengers in the former vessel, who crowded 
the deck at the time, not being apprised that 
.the steamer was about being set in motion, re- 
mained unconscious of their danger, when, as 
might be expected, the mischief-making cable 
bounded from the deck, and more or less injured 
several persons in its vicinity, but none so se- 
verely as our worthy consul, who was prostrated 
senseless on the deck, and remained an invalid 
during the rest of our voyage. 

This accident, together with the bursting of a 
cannon at the firing of a feu de joie on our de- 
parture from Odessa, and which severely wounded 
several persons, excited great alarm among the 
credulous portion of our party, for the Russians, 
even those of the highest rank, still cling to the 
belief of the most absurd superstitions ; conse- 
quently many were the opinions expressed and 
prognostications that these unlucky omens por- 
tended some dire misfortune to the expedition. 



246 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

After passing the remains of the fortified wall 
which formed the boundary of the ancient king- 
dom of the Bosphorus, we doubled Cape Thakli, 
and entered the Cimmerian Bosphorus, which 
unites the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov, and 
forms the boundary between Europe and Asia in 
this part of the globe. 

We were now in the centre of countries con- 
nected with some of the most brilliant periods in 
the history of the Greeks and Romans. These 
were the countries that formed the emporium of. 
the commerce of Athens, which enriched her citi- 
zens, and established her as a great maritime' 
power ; and afterwards witnessed some of the 
greatest triumphs of mighty Rome. Indeed, each 
side of the strait abounds with objects to interest 
the traveller in the numerous ruins of its ancient 
cities, and of the surprising number and size of 
the sepulchral tumuli everywhere visible. 

Favoured by a breeze and the strong current, 
we soon passed the strait, and cast anchor at 
Kertch, the ancient Panticapeum, and famous 
capital of the hero, Mithridates Eutapor. This is 
the most animated sea-port in the Crimea, and, 
from its situation, remarkably well adapted for a 
commercial position. Count Worrenzow, aware 
of this, has done everything to promote its pros- 
perity ; and among other regulations to further 



KERTCH. 247 

his design^ he recently obtained an ukase from 
St. Petersburg, compelling all vessels bound for 
the Sea of Azov to stop here and perform qua^ 
rantine. 

This measure alone has been productive of 
great advantage to the town, still in its infancy. 
Its present number of inhabitants, which are on 
the increase, amount to between three and four 
thousand. The houses are built with some degree 
of taste, the streets regular, and in planning them 
the error, so. common to the other modem towns 
I have seen in Russia, has been avoided, of making 
the streets of such a breadth, that the inhabitants, 
either from w^ant of inclination or ability, never 
pave them ; consequently the stranger is tor- 
mented with clouds of dust in summer, and with 
mud ankle deep in winter. 

The quarantine establishment of Kertch, plan- 
ned and executed according to the orders of the 
count, is a perfect model of its kind, with respect 
to its convenience and arrangements. The 
situation is airy, the apartments large, the pro- 
menades extensive ; and it possesses the rare 
advantage in this parched-up country of being 
abundantly supplied with the purest spring 
water. We found in one of the wards a Greek 
captain, just recovering from the plague ; he 
had been attended during the whole of his ill- 



248 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

ness by one of his countrymen, who slept in his 
room without experiencing the slightest incon- 
venience, and ridiculed the very idea of the 
plague being contagious. 



KERTCH^ 249 



LETTER XXIV. 

KBRTCH IN ITS PRESENT STATE — BANQUET— MUSEUM — HILL 

OF GOLD — OPENING OF A TUMULUS DISCOVERIES — 

VIOLATION OF THE TOMB — TUMULI — EXTENSIVE RUINS IN 
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF KERTCH — SEAT OP MITHRIDATES 
— CLIMATE. 

Independently of the interest attached to Kertch 
as having been the residence of Mithridates, we 
cannot behold it from the sea without being 
struck by its pleasing appearance. Like Theo- 
dosia, it is surrounded by an amphitheatre of 
hills, partially covered with houses rising up 
from its beautiful bay to the heights above : a 
pretty temple crowns the spot, once adorned by 
the regal residence of the Bosphorian kings ; and 
another, much more elegant and beautiful in its 
architecture, a projecting terrace : the latter, 
intended to be the Museum, is erecting at the 
expense of the Emperor Nicholas. But the 
whole of the surrounding country being entirely 
destitute of foliage, and nearly so of vegetation, 
we cannot regard it for any length of time, 
without being annoyed by the bright glare of 



250 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

the sea and dazzling whiteness of the buildings. 
Such is the lamentable want of trees in this part 
of Krim Tartary , that the inhabitants are obliged 
to resort to a distance of a hundred and twenty 
wersts in order to obtain fire-wood. 

The count was received at Kertch with the 
same military honours, illuminations, and fire- 
works^ as at Theodosia, and the whole of our 
party regaled with a splendid banquet, given by 
the governor of the town, Prince Kherkheou- 
lidzeff. The viands were numerous and good; 
and I could not help noticing the Crimea lamb, 
for the peculiar delicacy of its flavour : nor must 
I forget the wines, also the production of the 
Crimea, which I thought resembled those of 
Cyprus. Here I was also introduced, for the 
first time, to the national drink of Russia, — the 
far-famed kuass, which I found upon tasting to be 
sour, weak, watery, and unpalatable ; yet, it is 
extremely popular with every Russian, from the 
emperor to the peasant. It is made from fer- 
mented flour and water ; and when flavoured with 
fruit, such as apples, plums, crabs, or sour wine, 
it receives the name of Kieslschice ; in which 
form, I thought it much more agreeable. 

The best description of the Russian kuass was 
that given by George Tubervill, one of our poets 
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth : who says, 



I 



TUMULI. 251 

" Such liquor as they have,««nd as the country gives, 
The one called Kuas, whereby the Russie lives, 
Small ware, water-like, but somewhat tart in taste." 

After dinner, we visited a public school muni- 
ficently endowed by the emperor, and remarkably 
well conducted : we then extended our promenade 
to the Museum, the collection of whicli has been 
considerably augmented since the opening of a 
tumulus in 1830, called by the Tartars Altyn 
Obo, or the hill of gold ; pretended to have been 
the tomb of Mithridates. The immense quantity 
of bronze gilt vases, gold ornaments, and trinkets 
then found, fully justified the appellation: they 
were all of the most exquisite workmanship, but 
unfortunately a great number of those peculiarly 
remarkable for their beauty, had been sent to 
St. Petersburg* This is much to be regretted, as 
objects of art, which have descended to us in this 
manner, — relics of ages long since passed away, 
are certainly far more interesting in the country 
where they were discovered : for not only does 
the locality invest them with a peculiar charm, 
but they are in some measure linked with its 
history. The remainder have been placed in the 
Museum, which contains, in addition, a very choice 
collection of statues, vases, and medals, the whole 
found in the environs, and unquestionably of 
Grecian workmanship. 



252 VOYAGE ItOUND THE BLACK SEA. 

As may be supposed, the acquisition of these 
treasures generated the desire to open another of 
the surrounding tumuli ; and in the full expec- 
tation that a second discovery of equal importance 
would be made, the authorities of Kertch selected 
one, whose dimensions were similar to those of 
the Altyn Obo, and employed a number of men 
for several weeks in its excavation. After much 
labour and useless search, they at length came 
to an enormous slab ; when guards were stationed 
around it till the arrival of the count, as it was 
intended to have been opened in his presence, 
and by torch-light. 

The scene displayed on this occasion v/i% one 
of great novelty, derived partly from the varied 
costumes of the company, and partly from tlie 
singular character of every surrounding object; 
for the tumulus being distant a few leagues from 
Kertch, the country was so wild, that not a single 
human habitation was visible, and vegetatiou had 
entirely disappeared beneath the scorching rays 
uf the sun ; the height of the thermometer in tliis 
part of the Crimea, during the summer months, 
often exceeding a hundred degrees ofFahrenheit. 

You must now suppose our party, amounting to 
abouta hundred, in the dark bosom of an immense 
tomb ; some below at a depth of thirty feet, others 
perched on the sides illumined by blazing torches. 



OPENING OF A TUMLUUS. 253 

whose lurid glare crimsoned the white robes of 
the women, and lit up tlie splendid land varied 
uniforms of the ojfficers ; for we had Cossacks 
of the Don, Tchernemorsky Cossacks, Circas- 
sians, Russian sailors, Tartars, Greeks, Karaite 
Jews, &c. 

The work of raising the ponderous slabs, which, 
singular to say, had been placed over the tomb in 
the form of a cross, slowly proceeded : expectation 
was highly wrought ; and when after much labour 
the massive stones were removed, we beheld a 
square trough of cut stone, with a wooden box in 
the centre containing a bronze urn, gilt, of the 
most graceful form and elaborate workmanship. 

The whole was carried to Kertch ; but when 
opened, alas ! was found to enclose no other trea- 
sure than the ashes of him who had been there in- 
terred. These remains, perhaps of a prince or hero 
who had proudly led his followers to victory, I 
afterwards saw carried out by the servant, and 
thrown upon the dunghill ! 

Must we not regard this as an act of wanton 
sacrilege? Centuries upon centuries have elapsed, 
these tumuli have been respected by successive 
hordes of barbarians who overran the country, 
until it was reserved for the civilised barbarian of 
the nineteenth century to violate the sacredness 
of the tomb ! It may be said, that this is done 



254 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

to advance the purposes of science^ history, &c. 
Granted ; but surely it would be more consonant 
with good feeling to have replaced the ashes from 
whence they were taken. 

It is to be regretted that Christians of every 
age and in every clime have not been so scru« 
pulous in violating the sanctity of the tomb as 
might be wished, though at the same time this 
practice is directly opposed to the divine tenets 
of our religion. If we only turn to the middle 
ages, the picture is indeed dark ; and in modem 
times, although we admit the motive — the ad- 
vancement of the purposes of science, to be a pal- 
liation, yet we must lament the sacrilege. Owing 
to the rapacity of the western hordes under Bald- 
win, Earl of Flanders, when in possession of Con- 
stantinople, the world has to regret the loss of some 
of the proudest monuments of immortal Greece. 
These barbarians not only plundered the tombs 
of the emperors and private individuals, but sacri- 
legiously robbed the temples dedicated to their 
own faith ; and, in their thirst for spoil, melted 
down every description of metal, from the beau- 
tiful golden ornaments of the churches, even to 
the bronze statues in the streets. 

In this respect, the conduct of the Turk, not- 
withstanding all his faults, deserves our warmest 
admiration ; for in every country, and in every 



TUMULI. 255 

war, the disciple of Mahomet has religiously 
respected the last resting-place of frail morta- 
lity. 

The tumuli of these countries are exceedingly 
interesting ; the prodigious size and immense 
numbers we find, both here and in the adjoining 
island of Taman, incontestibly prove that it was 
a country once occupied by a great and powerful 
people. That they were opulent, the variety of 
gold ornaments, beautiful vases, exquisite statues, 
andsculptured tombs found in the neighbourhood, 
sufficiently show. With regard to the origin of 
the tumuli, if we may depend upon the tradi- 
tionary accounts of the descendants of the abori- 
ginal inhabitants, some few of whom are still to 
be found in the mountainous districts of the 
Crimea^ they were voluntarily erected by the peo- 
ple ; as when one of their great warriors or kings 
expired, his ashes were placed in the tomb, and 
every man who admired his virtues carried a 
portion of earth and threw it over his grave. 

Be this as it may, they have certainly not been 
formed by earth excavated in the vicinity, which 
is always perfectly level ; and some geologists go 
ttie length of saying, that the earth of which they 
are composed is different in its nature from tliat 
on which they stand. 

However, the idea of a mountain-tomb being 



256 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

fprmed as a tribute of the voluntary admiration 
of an entire people for a chief whose loss they 
deplored, is beautiful and affecting ; and as- 
suredly, if we had such a custom in our own 
country, it would be at least an incentive to some 
of our ambitious statesmen and heroes to be more 
virtuous, as th^ would then aspire to the distinc- 
tion of having a pyramid of earth erected over 
them. The tradition of the Tartars is not, how- 
ever, without some foundation in truth ; for the 
cairns of the Scots were erected in a similar man- 
ner : and in the north of Scotland, an expression 
of friendship and affection still remains among 
the people to this effect: ^^ I will cast a stone 
upon thy cairn." 

The resources which the whole of these coun- 
tries offer to the traveller are varied and inter- 
esting ; and I much regretted that the short time 
we remained at Kertch would not permit me to 
examine, with a greater degree of attention, the 
interesting ruins of ancient cities in the neigh- 
bourhood, a description of which would alone fill 
a volume. 

Besides the remains of the Acropolis, built by 
Mithridates on a mountain, and which still retains 
his name, there are, also contiguous to the town, 
the Cimmerium, Akra and Nymphe of the an- 
cients, together with the ruins of the palace of the 



KERTCH. 257 

kings of the Bosphorus ; and not far distant from 
the quarantine establishment, that called Myrmi- 
cuim. By extending our promenade only a few 
leagues further^ to the fort of Yeni-kale, near the 
sea of Azov, we find some remains of the famous 
Orthmion, and if we cross the Cimmerian strait 
to the isle of Taman opposite, there is all that 
now exists of the once splendid city of Phanagoria, 
among whose ruins, notwithstanding the well* 
known propensity of the Russians to destroy an- 
tiquities, may still be traced its celebrated 
Naumachia, a thousand paces in diameter. 
^ In my solitary rambles, I often reposed on a 
peak of the mountain called the seat of Mith- 
ridates, which commands a fine view of the sea 
and the surrounding country, now a melancholy 
picture of desolation ; for, with the exception of 
the little town of Kertch, we behold nothing save 
ruins and tumuli, — not even a tree, and scarcely 
sufficient vegetation to support a few stray sheep, 
who are occasionally seen endeavouring to glean 
a scanty subsistence from the parched-up earth. 
During one of my visits to my favourite haunt, 
where the heroic monarch was accustomed to sit, 
meditating the conquest even of mighty Rome 
herself, I fell into a fit of musing on the insta- 
bility of human greatness, on the frail tenure by 
which man holds power, wealth, fame ; but these 

VOL. I. s 



258 VOTAOE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

most sublime meditations were quickly changed 
into contemplations on the mutability of human 
enjoyments ; for having forgotten the hour of our 
departure, I observed our little squadron on the 
point of leaving the bay of Kertch. A few 
bounds brought me to the beach, and the sight 
of a dollar procured me a Tartar boat, which 
soon took me alongside the corvette. 

On account of the great heat of the weather, 
the governor-general took advantage of the cool 
breeze of the evening to prosecute our voyage 
towards the fortress of Anapa, the first Russian 
settlement in Circassia. The air was serene and 
refreshing, without the slightest indication of 
humidity, and the night delightful, illumined as 
it then was by a moon so bright, that I found no 
difficulty in reading by its light. Indeed, it was 
only by substituting her mild radiance for the 
burning splendour of the sun, that we could 
enjoy existence ; as in this country, such is the 
intensity of the heat during a month or two in 
summer, that not only the spirits, but frequently 
life itself sinks beneath its enervating influence. 

However, with the exception of the inconve- 
nience resulting from the burning heat of the sun 
during a few hours of the day, and which pre- 
vented us from going on deck, we had every rea- 
son to enjoy our voyage. Fancy, then, the plea- 



AGREEABLE SAILING. 259 

sure of gliding over the broad expanse of the 
Euxine without as much as a breeze, or even a 
swell, that could excite the apprehension of the 
most timid woman. In addition to this, our 
occupations and amusements were as diversified 
and agreeable as if we had been passing our time 
among the gayest party in the most fashionable 
saloon : for the studious there was a well-assorted 
library, card-tables for the idle, music for the 
admirers of that delightful art; while to the 
observer, the varied characters of the moving 
multitude, the distinctive traits by which each 
individual was marked, supplied a fund of 
amusement, particularly the sailors, a race pro- 
verbially light-hearted and merry. Watching 
the playful dolphins as they bounded through 
the waters, afforded another occupation for the 
indolent ; these poetic fishes, which abound in 
the Euxine, here white and there grey, were our 
constant companions ; they hovered about our 
vessels, now darting with the swiftness of arrows 
through the mighty deep, then sailing quietly 
along in pairs, as if determined to keep pace 
with us. 



s 2 



INTBBTIRW BETWIBN COUNT WORRBNZOW AND I 
CIRCASSIAN CHIRP. 



LETTER XXV. 



FIRST A9FECT OF THE CAUCASIAN HOtTNTAINS— CIRCABEIANS 
— THBIR HOSTILITY TO RUSSIA— .PROCLAMATION OP THR 

KING OP BNOLAND TO TBB CIRCASSIANa THB POBT> 

POLIO IN THB MOUNTAINS OP THB CAUCASUS — INTER- 
VIBW BRTTFEBN COUNT WOBBENZOW AND A CIRCASSIAN 
CHIBP— POBTBESa OP ANAPA — ORIGIN OP THB CON- 
NEXION BBTWEBN THB TURKS AND CIHCASSIANS — ANAPA 
DKCOHRS A FACHALIK — POLITICAL INTRIOUE8 WAB BE- 
TWEEN THE TURKS AND RUSSIANS — DISASTROUS CONSE- ■ 
QUBNCBS TO THB CIRCASSIANS PROM THEIR ALLIANCE 
WITH THE TURKS. 

At the dawD of the following day, I was aroused 
from my cot by the sailors crying " Tcherkesee ! 
Tcherkesse!" Circassiat Circassial and jumping 



ANAPA. 26 1 

upon deck, I caught for the first time a view of 
the lesser chain of the Caucasus, piled up in all 
their varied forms to heaven ; and a more bril- 
liant pageant than they then exhibited cannot be 
imagined. The sun, as it slowly emerged from 
behind a distant peak, gradually gilded every 
separate pinnacle of the stupendous. range ; and 
by its rosy light we discovered the white walls of 
the fortress of Anapa, bristling with cannon. The 
decks were soon filled by our party, enjoying the 
long-wished-for sight ; and running into the port 
with the morning breeze, we were again received 
with a deafening salute from the shore. 

The heights around the fortress of Anapa being 
in possession of the hostile tribes of the Caucasus, 
were covered with armed men, who seemed much 
amazed at the appearance of our little fleet, and 
probably mistook the sailors and passengers for 
soldiers, as horsemen were seen galloping in 
every direction, as if to alarm the inhabitants. 
In a ' few minutes, however, they disappeared, 
leaving none behind, save a few solitary sentinels 
on the most prominent situations, evidently for 
the purpose of watching our movements. I 
found, however, by the aid of a powerful glass, 
that the dense forests on the shore and the sides 
of the hills were filled with . armed men, no 
doubt with the intention of giving us a warm 



262 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

reception, if we extended our visit beyond the 
walls of the fortress. 

Here the governor-general landed, accompa- 
nied only by his own compatriots : his reason for 
this proceeding I am unable to divine, this being 
the only time he had done so daring the whole of 
our voyage. I subsequently learned, from one 
of the party, that the garrison was excessively 
unhealthy, and had recently experienced several 
disastrous reverses in their conflicts with the na* 
tives, who had lately manifested a more deter- 
mined spirit of hostility ; and their attacks being 
now conducted with greater military skill and dis* 
cipline, had proved more murderous to their inva- 
ders. They were also said to be commanded by 
an English officer who had served in India. But 
the last, and to me the most extraordinary piece 
of intelligence was, that the country was inundated 
with copies of a proclamation from the king of 
England, calling upod the Circassians to defend 
their country ; and that in the event of their re- 
quiring'^assistance, he would forthwith despatch a 
powerful fleet to their aid I Nor was this the only 
marvel related : for the count himself informed 
me, that numerous copies of that dreadful publi- 
cation, the PortfoHojWere industriously circulated 
among the people. These two astonishing docu* 
ments, of course, were immediately translated. 



ANAPA. 263 

and sent to shake the nerves of the cabinet of St. 
Petersburg. 

My surprise at this intelligence was only 
equalled by my vexation : I wished myself on 
shore a thousand times, as I fully expected the 
pleasure of my tour was terminated, particularly 
when I observed the cold looks of several Russian 
friends, who would not separate the individual 
from his country. Not so, however. Count 
Worrenzow : he had the good sense and kind 
feeling to discern at once that this could not be 
either the secret, or avowed act of the English 
government, but the wild plan of some exiled 
Poles who, from the private information he had 
received, were then among the mountaineers. 
Indeed, the very idea was absurd in the extreme ; 
for what benefit was likely to accrue from circu- 
lating political treatises among a' people, who are 
not only ignorant of every foreign language, but 
unable to read their own ? 

When relating the little details of his visit to 
the fortress of Anapa, the count informed me 
that he had been honoured with a visit from a 
Circassian prince, chief of the Natouhay tribe, 
originally Tartars, who had fled into the moun- 
tains of the Caucasus upon the conquest of the 
provinces on the banks of the Kouban and the 
sea of Azov. 



264 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

These people now occupy the left bank of the 
Kouban, within the Circassian territory, are 
considered brave even to ferocity, and having 
carried with them to their adopted country the 
most bitter animosity against the conquerors of 
their native land, they are, perhaps, the most 
uncompromising enemies with which Russia has 
to contend in these provinces. The purport of 
the mission of the chief was no less important 
than to request the assistance of the garrison in a 
love affair, as he was anxious to carry off the 
daughter of a neighbouring prince who, it ap- 
peared, had been refused him in marriage. 
This request, however, was regarded merely as a 
pretence; the real object of his intentions being 
supposed to be observation ; or, to speak plainly, 
that he was a spy. And such are the suspicions 
entertained by this people of the good faith of 
the Russians, that during the whole time of his 
conversation with the count, his squire held a 
loaded pistol in his hand on the cock, ready to 
be discharged at the head of his excellency, in 
the event of any violence being offered to his 
master. 

Anapa is situated at the base of a mountain 
which terminates the lesser chain of the Cau- 
c^us, from whence the vast plain of the Kouban 
extends north and east ; the south side of the 



ANAPA. 265 

town is protected by fortifications erected upon a 
rock of about a hundred feet high ; towards the 
north the coast is low and marshy, defended by 
a mole with bastions from an attack by sea, but 
altogether appearing neglected, and in every 
respect but ill calculated to resist a serious can- 
nonading. 

As a port, the anchorage is not considered 
very secure ; and being shallow, it is only capa- 
ble of receiving small vessels, which run the 
risk of being driven out to sea by the violence of 
the wind, which often descends from the moun- 
tains with all the force of a hurricane. The 
inhabitants, consisting of Circassians, Nogay 
Tartars, Kalmucks, Komouks, Kabartis, Ka- 
zannes, Demikarponis, Daghistanes, Boukhares^ 
with a few Greeks, Armenians, and Russians, 
speaking a medley of tongues, form a variety 
seldom met with in so small a population as two 
thousand. That you may not think me gifted 
with the faculty of ubiquity, I ought to inform 
you, that I was indebted for these statistical parti- 
culars to the historiographer of our little expedi- 
tion, who accompanied the count on his visit to 
the fortress ; and to his artist, M. Fazzardi, I 
owe the vignette, which has been engraved from 
a sketch he took during the interview between 
the count and the Circassian prince. 



266 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

The fortress is not furnished with a sufficient 
supply of water, that found in the town being 
brackish and unwholesome ; hence the garrison 
are compelled to fetch this necessary article from a 
mountain rivulet not far distant, called Boughori. 
In theae expeditions they are obliged to be 
escorted by a park of artillery with lighted 
matches, as a defence against the determined 
hostility of the natives. 

Anapa and the surrounding country formerly 
belonged to a warlike tribe of Circassians, called 
Skhegake. The last prince, Mehemet Gherei 
Aslane, who was said to be extremely wealthy, 
carried on a considerable trade with the Turks 
and the Tartars of the Crimea, and even pos- 
sessed several commercial vessels ; but after the 
establishment of the Zaporogztsi Cossacks by 
Prince Potemkiu, on the opposite banks of the 
Kouban, and who from that time took the name 
of Tchernemorsky Cossacks, or Cossacks of the 
Black Sea, a continual predatory war ensued 
between them and the Skhegake Circassians, in 
consequence of which that tribe^ with the family 
of its chief, have become nearly extinct. It was 
from this prince that the Turks obtained permis- 
sion to establish themselves at Anapa in 1784, 
for the twofold purpose of protecting their sub- 
jects the Nogay and Krim Tartars, who had 



ANAPA. 267 

taken refuge among the mountaineers on the 
subjection of their country by Russia, and as a 
station for commercial purposes. 

The fortress vfas built upon the ruins of one 
originally constructed by the Genoese, and from 
this epoch the inhabitants of the Caucasus may 
date the commencement of the long vars which 
have desolated their country down to the present 
day. Anapa now became the seat of a Pacha, 
Seid Achmet, who by his intrigues not only ex- 
cited the Circassians to invade the territories of 
Russia on the left bank of the Kouban, but to 
rebel against their own chiefs. In this he was 
influenced partly by jealousy of Russia, with whom 
the Circassians had already established a commer- 
cial intercourse, and partly by a selfish purpose ; 
which so far succeeded, that he won over, by 
bribes and great promises, two of the neighbour- 
ing tribes, the Khapsoukhee and the Kabartee, 
to revolt and massacre their own chiefs, and be- 
come the subjects of the Sultaq. 

These tribes, however, did not long remain 
faithful to their engagements; for we subsequently 
find them, commanded by their own native chiefs, 
in open arms against the Turks, (whose rule had 
become odious,) threatening the Pacha and his 
garrison with utter destruction. 

From this time the power of the Pacha extended 



268 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

no farther than the walls of his fortress ; and the 
Ottoman government wisely sought no other ad- 
vantage than the quiet possession of the fortress, 
and to establish commercial relations with the 
natives, which they maintained in the most ami- 
cable manner till their final expulsion. 

Still, however peaceable might be the disposi- 
tion of Turkey towards her Circassian allies, yet 
they were sure to be made parties to every quar- 
rel in which she was engaged ; and Anapa was 
alternately taken and retaken both by Russians 
and Turks. In 1790 the former, under General 
Bibikow, crossed the Kouban at the head of 
10,000 men, laying waste the country to the gates 
of Anapa. In the following year General Goudi- 
vitch took the town by assault ; and in 1807 it 
was again captured by Admiral Poustochkin and 
General Govorow, who after pillaging and de- 
stroying the unlucky town and fortress, left it 
desolate. 

Still its misfortunes were not yet terminated ; 
for in 1828 our countryman. Admiral Greig, left 
Sevastopol with a Russian fleet, consisting of eight 
vessels of the line, four frigates, and twenty cor- 
vettes, besides transports, &c. ; and in conjunc- 
tion with Prince Menstchikow, who commanded 
a large force by land, the town and garrison were 
subdued, after a murderous siege of nearly three 
months. 



ANAPA. 269 

The obstinate resistance made by the Turkish 
garrison this time, was partly referable to the 
bravery of their allies^ the Circassians, who fought 
courageously to the last, and were so enraged 
with the governor, Osman Pacha, for delivering 
up tfieir fortress to a foreign enemy, that they 
vented their fury by detaining as slaves every 
Turk who had fled to them for protection. Since 
this time it has continued in possession of the 
Russians, and the sword of the invader has never 
been replaced in its scabbard. 

That the possession of Anapa has opened a 
wide field of enterprise for Russia cannot be 
doubted, as it offers a tempting opportunity of 
bringing under her sceptre the various warlike 
tribes of the Caucasus; still, it appears a difficult 
undertaking to conquer a people, enthusiastic 
lovers of liberty, who, entrenched behind their 
native mountains, have down to the present day 
bid defiance to the attempts made by the most 
powerful nations to bring them under subjec- 
tion. The military operations of Russia have not 
hitherto been productive of any decided advan- 
tage, and the hatred of the people was never more 
violently excited than at the present moment. 



AN BVENINO VIEW OP THE BAY OF SOUDJOUK-KALE. 



LETTER XXVI. 

ARRIVAL AT SOUDJOUK-KALE ITS CAPTURE BY THE RUSSIANS 

ADVANTAGEOUS POSITION — OBIOIN OP THE ESTABLISH- 
MENT OF THE TUBKS AT SOUDJOUK-KALE — EXPULSION OP 

THE TURKS SUPPOSED ANTIQUITY OP SOUDJOUK-KALE 

SKETCH OP THE RUSSIAN CAUP— PLANS OF THE RUSSIAN 

GOVERNMENT FOR THE PINAL SUBJUGATION OF CIRCAESIA 

ARRIVAL OF A CIRCASSIAN NOBLE AT THE CAMP— HIS AD- 
HESION TO TUB CAUSE OF RUSSIA — CHABACTBB OF THE 
CIRCASSIANS — WATCH-FIRES. 

The voyage we now made along the shore3 of 
this beautiful country, was truly delightful ; the 
breeze from the mountains tempered the great 
heat, the oak, so long a stranger, once more reared 



SOUDJOUK-K ALE. 27 1 

its majestic head, and the thousand trees and 
beautiful plants that covered the ground were 
alike ifefreshing to the senses and cheering to the 
spirits of the traveller, just arrived from the sterile 
rocks, arid wastes, and burning atmosphere of 
Krim Tartary, 

In truth, such was the beauty of the scenery 
and the variety of the prospects, that we glided 
almost imperceptibly along till we arrived at 
Soudjouk-Kale, a fortress of which the Russians 
obtained possession, after a sharp contest with the 
Circassians, only a few days previous to our ar- 
rival ; and though composed of nothing but a heap 
of ruins, yet the position is most important, being 
situated on a splendid bay, affording safe anchor- 
age ; while the valley, which is very fertile and of 
great length, communicates with several others, 
and thus opens an entrance into the interior of 
the country, to the very base of the Caucasian 
Alps. 

Soudjouk-Kale, about thirty miles south-east of 
Anapa, is in every respect admirably situated, 
either as a commercial station, a military position 
to hold the surrounding country in subjection, or 
as a secure defence against any attack by sea. 
But in order to ensure the safety of an establish- 
ment upon this bay from the attacks of the natives, 
it will be indispensable, not only to obtain posses* 



272 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

sion of the heights which command the valley and 
the entrance to the port, but to fortify them. This, 
however, cannot be done except at a great ex- 
pense and fearful sacrifice of life; and even should 
the Russians succeed in the enterprise, I very 
much doubt their power either of being able to 
hold forcible possession, or allowed the necessary 
time to fortiiy them, owing to the murderous 
and harassing warfare continually carried on by 
the natives. 

Some few years after the Turks had established 
themselves at Anapa, they obtained permission 
from another Circassian prince, called Gherei- 
Kochmit, son of Chagan-Gherei, to form a similar 
establishment at this place ; consequently they 
erected a commercial depot, which they after- 
wards fortified and manned with a garrison, giving 
it the name of Soudjouk-Kale (fortress of Soud- 
jouk). But on looking over the Turkish re- 
cords, I find that they adopted a different line of 
policy from that pursued at Anapa, contenting 
themselves with merely maintaining a friendly 
correspondence with the natives, and in convert- 
ing them to the creed of Islamism. 

The Soudjouk commercial depot, however, 
turned out equally fatal to the peace of the na- 
tives as that at Anapa ; for we find it subsequently 
taken from the Turks by the Russian General 



SOUDJOUK-KALE. 273 

Goudovitch ; and later in 1811 by the Due de 
Richelieu, governor of Odessa ; and again revert- 
ing to the Turks by the peace of Bucharest. But 
the total want of warlike spirit exhibited by the 
Turks, and the frequent introduction of the plague, 
which swept thousands of the Circassians to their 
graves, so disgusted this brave people, that in 
1820 they finally banished their Mahometan 
allies from this part of the coast, razed the fortifi- 
cations to the ground, and Soudjouk-Kal^ re- 
mained a heap of ruins till the present day. It is 
supposed by some writers to have been the site of 
the ancient Sindika, or Sidone, while others 
assign this honour to Anapa ; the name of Soud- 
jouk, however, bears the nearest analogy to the 
original one, Sindika. An additional evidence is 
afibrded in favour of the former, by the circum- 
stance that Arrian, the geographer, asserts Sindika 
to have been situated at a distance of five hundred 
stades from Panticapeum, now Kertch ; and as 
that town is about fifty miles from the bay of 
Soudjouk-Kale, the measurements nearly agree, 
at the rate of computing eleven marine stades to 
a mile. 

From the accounts we received from the Rus- 
sian ofiicers, it would appear that the taking of 
Soudjouk-Kale was attended with a great loss of 
life, the Circassians having fought with the bra- 

VOL. I. T 



274 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

very of desperation. But how was it possible 
that these mountaineers, with no other weapons 
than rifle, sword, bows, and arrows, nor other 
bulwark than their own breasts, could resist, with 
any prospect of success, the attack of a well-dis- 
ciplined army of 16,000 men, led on by an expe- 
rienced general, M. Willemineff, assisted by a 
regular train of artillery and every other materiel 
of war ? 

The shades of evening were fast deepening 
into the gloom of night as we arrived at the camp 
of Soudjouk-Kale, which then displayed a scene 
that will ever live in my recollection. The vil- 
lages of the unhappy mountaineers still blazing 
on the sides of the hills, together with the nume- 
rous watch-fires of the soldiers in various parts 
of the camp, shed their lurid glare, not only over 
the moving multitude, but the whole surrounding 
country to the highest peaks of the towering 
mountains, mimicking the bright blaze of the 
noon-day luminary of heaven. 

Nor was the view on the boundless expanse of 
the Euxine at that moment less striking : the full 
red moon, as it slowly emerged from the bosom 
of the mighty deep, flung its tranquil light over 
the crimsoned waves of the sea, forming a pure 
and peaceful contrast to the warlike din on shore, 
which exhibited a picture at once novel and ani- 



RUSSIAN CAMP AT SOUDJOUK-KALE. 275 

mated. The graceful form of the snow-white tents, 
and the almost endless variety of the military cos- 
tume, formed the principal features, — a variety 
peculiar to the Russian empire, composed as it is 
of so many different nations and tribes. 

Besides the regular Russian troops, there were 
the Tchernemorsky Cossacks, and those of the 
Don, mounted on their fleet steeds, and brandish- 
ing their long lances in the air ; and as the gover- 
nor-general had been expected, the whole of the 
military were habited in full uniform. The cos- 
«tume of the Ataman, and the officers belonging 
to the Tchernemorsky corps, could notbe exceeded 
in splendour, being more oriental than European. 
Their horses glittered with embroidered housings, 
and their arms with embossed gold and turquoises; 
while the cap of Astrakan, and the well-fitting 
jacket or polonaise of scarlet cloth richly braided 
with gold and ornamented with the Circassian 
patron pocket, imparted a tout ensemble to the 
figure at once warlike and magnificent. 

In addition to these, the number of fine young 
men, officers belonging to the life guards of the 
emperor, (who had volunteered to serve in the 
Caucasus during the summer's campaign,) glitter- 
ing with jewelled orders^ contributed not a little 
in giving variety to the picture, which was indeed 
most characteristic. 

T 2 



276 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

The bands of the various regiments were per- 
forming their most lively airs ; aides-de-camp 
galloping to and fro ; here a group of soldiers 
playing at cards on the head of a drum, there 
creating thirst by swallowing copious draughts of 
the beloved vodka ; in one place chaunting with 
a loud roar their national airs, and in another 
tripping the wild dance, the barina, to strains 
equally wild. 

So far all told of peace ; but there were other 
signs and sounds which proclaimed that war was 
not far distant. Such as the loud clang of the. 
anvil, the sharpening of sabres, striking of flints, 
cleaning of guns, mingled with the loud strokes 
of the carpenter's axe employed in erecting pali- 
sades. Nor were the number of sturdy fellows 
hastily throwing up intrenchments, and camels 
groaning beneath the weight of field-pieces and 
ammunition-wagons, less indicative of the ap- 
proaching struggle. In the midst of these hostile 
preparations, some few were to be seen quietly 
smoking at the door of their tents ; others squat- 
ted round large fires— cooking perhaps their last 
meal, for the avant-guard had just been driven in, 
bringing the intelligence that the enemy were 
advancing in great numbers, and from the posi- 
tions they had taken, no doubt meditated a 
serious attack. 



RUSSIAN CAMP AT SOUDJOUK-KALE, 277 

As we wandered through the immense multi- 
tiide, not a few spoke eloquently, by their pale 
emaciated countenances, bandaged limbs, and 
attenuated frames, that their recent victory had 
been indeed dearly bought. These poor invalids 
Count Worrenzow never passed without address- 
ing some few words of consolation and encourage* 
ment ; and his first care was to visit those tents 
appropriated exclusively to the sick and wounded, 
where he distributed money, food, cordials — ^all that 
could be necessary for their wants, and soothed 
the spirits of the pain-worn men with sympathy, 
and approbation for their bravery. 

After taking some slight refreshment, and 
smoking a tchibouque in the tent of the general, 
our visit to the camp was concluded with a mimic 
combat for the amusement of the ladies, between 
the Cossacks of the Don, and the Tchernemorsky 
Cossacks of the Kouban : the latter personated 
the Circassians. 

During the time I remained on shore, I had 
for my companions several young officers of the 
guards, who communicated to me a variety of 
interesting particulars respecting the Circassians 
and their mode of warfare, together with the plans 
proposed to be carried into execution for the pur- 
pose of reducing them to subjection. 

Among other things, it is the intention of the 



278 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

Russian government to occupy every port, bay, 
and landing-place on the coast of Circaaaia ; and 
to build forts in the most eligible situations, which 
are to be connected with each other by means of 
military roads, intended to be conducted along 
the heights. Undoubtedly, if this plan can be 
accomplished, the mountaineers will be prevented 
from having any intercourse with their neigh- 
bours the Turks, who are known to aid them 
with their counsels, and supply them with ammu- 
nition ; and as they are entirely destitute of salt, 
powder, and every species of manufacture, this 
scheme, it is presumed, will have the effect of 
sowing dissension among the chiefs, breaking the 
unconquerable spirit of the people, and of eventu- 
ally reducing them to submission. 

This is the more practicable, as Russia is al- 
ready master of the right bank of the Kouban, the 
provinces of Mingrelia, Immeretia, and Gourial ; 
together with those countries lying between the 
Caspian sea, and the Alps of the Caucasus. 

For this object, Russia has been labouring 
during the last half century ; for this, the effe- 
' labitants of province after province have 
lied, till nothing now remains to com- 
circle, except the Circassian coast on 
Sea; to effect which I have no doubt 
lilies and resources of this vast empire 



RUSSIAN CAMP AT SOUDJOUK-KALE. 279 

will be directed. Still, so conscious are the Rus- 
sians of the difficulty of the undertaking, that 
the commander in chief, General WilleminefF, 
assured me he considered the conquest of the 
Ottoman empire would be a work of more facility 
than the subjugation of the warlike tribes of the 
Caucasus. 

My young friends also pointed out to my notice 
several Poles of noble families, who, either having 
been taken prisoners during the late insurrection, 
or exiled for their political opinions, were sent 
here to serve as private soldiers ; the Caucasus 
being considered in Russia as a second Siberia, 
or rather, perhaps, a school in which refractory 
subjects are taught the lesson of obedience. 

One of these political delinquents, M , was 

introduced to me, when dining a few weeks pre- 
vious with the governor of Kertch. He had been 
an author of great celebrity, and considered one 
of the most learned men in the empire ; but having 
unfortunately taken a prominent part in the well- 
known revolutionary movement at St. Petersburg, 
the punishment of his crime was mitigated, in 
consideration of his literary talents, to military 
banishment to the Caucasus, where he served 
twelve years as a private soldier : and such was 
his bravery and good conduct^ that, upon repre- 
sentations being made to the Russian government 



280 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

in his favour, he was pardoned, and presented 
with a pair of epaulettes. However, pardon and 
honours have come too late, as the poor fellow is 
dying of a consumption. 

Perhaps the greatest novelty of the camp at 
Soudjouk-Kal^, was a native Circassian, a Pchi- 
khan, or noble, who had recently joined the 
Russian standard. The fairer portion of our 
party thought proper to confer upon him the 
name of Jupiter ; but I should be inclined to call 
him an Antinous. His head and features, truly 
Grecian, werestrikingly handsome; while the lux- 
uriant beard, dark mustachios, and turbaned cap 
of the finest black Astrakan, imparted an expres- 
sion of manly beauty and character; and, in truth, 
his figure for athletic grace of mould might well 
have served as a model for the immortal Phidias. 
Not having yet assumed the Russian uniform, 
his costume was perfectly national, consisting of 
a tunic and full trowsers of fine cloth, gathered at 
the knee, the colour of the falling leaf, which 
these mountaineers adopt as being best calculated 
to conceal them in their guerilla warfare. Indeed, 
I was not a little surprised to observe the neat 
manner in which the dress of the young chief 
was made, and it gave me quite a distaste for our 
cherished European modes; as assuredly the open 
collar displaying the fine contour of his neck, and 




A CIRCASSIAN NOBLE. 281 

the close-binding girdle that secured his sym- 
metrical form, seemed to me all that nature and 
art could devise for exhibiting the figure to the 
best advantage. 

The young traitor was, however, under strict 
surveillance, it being strongly suspected he was a 
spy ; for it is no uncommon freak of the Circas- 
sian chiefs and nobles to offer their services to 
the emperor, receive handsome presents in arms 
and money, and then scamper off, on the first op- 
portunity, to their own people, after having ac- 
quired such information as might suit their 
purpose. Several instances of this were related 
to me, some of which had occurred only a short 
time previous ; but none more strongly marked 
with ingratitude than that of Mamet-Indargou^ 
chief of the Chipakoua tribe in the vicinity of 
the bay of Pchad, who after receiving for many 
years the pay and presents of the Russian go- 
vernment, is now in open hostility against it, 
while his sons are among the fiercest and most 
determined enemies against Russian rule in 
Circassia. 

In short, the description we received from the 
officers at the camp respecting the character of 
the Circassians, would have been sufficient to 
damp the ardour of any traveller, however cou- 
rageous and enterprising he might be, from visits 



282 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

ing a people in so savage a state. Among other 
vices, they were represented to be all robbers by 
profession, so ferocious that no kindness could 
tame, so treacherous that no treaties could bind, 
continually engaged in petty warfare even with 
each other, notorious for duplicity and breach of 
faith, and so utterly destitute of truth, that they 
will not hesitate to slay with one hand, while the 
other is extended in friendship. 

These accounts were by no means calculated 
to inspire me with encouraging anticipations as 
to my projected tour in the interior of the Cau- 
casus ; and certainly did not correspond ^ith the 
details I received from my friend the Chevalier 
Taitbout de Marigny, consul of his majesty the 
King of Holland at Odessa, who visited the coast 
of Circassia in 1823 and 1824. Though so 
many years have since passed, he recalled, with 
pleasure, the kind reception he then received ; 
nor was he ever weary of praising the character 
of that unsophisticated people for hospitality, 
good faith, — in short, for all the virtues that 
could adorn our species in a half-civilised state ; 
and he often declared to me, that had it not been 
for friends, family, and home, he would have 
taken up his residence among them. 

However, if we place ourselves in the position 
of the Circassians, and consider with what feel- 



CHARACTER OF THE CIRCASSIANS. 283 

ings they must regard their powerful neighbours, 
who endeavour, by the sword and every art of 
political intrigue and corruption, to betray and 
enslave them, we cannot feel surprised at any 
conduct however atrocious, that people may 
evince towards a nation whom they must ever 
consider as most unprincipled invaders. 

Highly delighted with our visit to the camp, 
and grateful for the entertainments and amuse- 
ments the officers had so kindly prepared for us, 
we returned at a late hour to our vessels, and 
passed the night at anchor in the bay, it not be- 
ing deemed prudent to proceed on our voyage 
along a coast occupied by so active an enemy. 
Our attention was more than once directed to 
numerous watch-fires blazing on the hills, which 
appeared to correspond with each other like 
telegraphs, evidently intended to give warning 
of approaching danger. 



284 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 



LETTER XXVII. 

VOYAGE TO OHBLKNDJIK — SPLENDID COAST SCENERY — ARRI- 
VAL AT OHBLENDJIK — ADVANTAGES OP THE BAY A8 A 

HARBOUR FAILURE OF THE RUSSIAN COLONY — FORTRESS 

SALUBRITY OF THE CLIMATE BAY OF PCHAD HOSTILE 

ATTITUDE OF THE NATIVES— FERTILE ASPECT OF THE COUN- 
TRY — BAY OF DJOOK — BOUNDARY BETWEEN UPPER AND 
LOWER ABASIA — CHARACTER OF THE ABASIANS— DEFILE OF 
JAGRA — VISIT TO THE FORTRESS— INCESSANT WARFARE OF 
THE NATIVES — UNHEALTHINESS OF THE SITUATION. 

The next morning the sun rose with an Asiatic 
splendour, such as we might expect in the land 
where mornings were first created ; and as our 
little fleet, with their clouds of canvas just fanned 
by a gentle breeze, proudly wound its way in 
a majestic curve out of the lovely bay, we beheld 
the military rushing in thousands to the shore to 
bid us adieu ; and at the same moment a loud 
martial burst of wind-instruments floated along 
the waves, whose sweet notes now lost, then 
heard, were finally overpowered as they mingled 
with the deafening roar of successive discharges 
of artillery ; the whole forming a scene highly 



SPLENDID SC£NERY. 285 

picturesque and animated. But it was not till we 
had doubled Cape Taouba, and entered the pure 
transparent waters of the vast basin of the Eux- 
ine, that I enjoyed in perfection what was most 
congenial to my feelings,— the superb prospect of 
this Eden-like country, which I am inclined to 
think, for beautiful coast-scenery, has no parallel 
upon this planet of ours. 

I admired the shore, from Anapa to Soudjouk- 
Kale, for its picturesque character ; but the sub- 
lime panorama now unfolded, surpassed every 
expectation, however sanguine, I had hitherto 
formed. It was in truth a fairy-land, as if created 
for the purpose of exhibiting the loveliest combi- 
nations which unadorned nature alonecould form. 

The mountains were covered with verdure 
from the water's edge to the highest peak, and 
whether the eye wandered along the shore, up 
the bosomy hills, or through the fertile valleys, 
numerous flocks of snow-white sheep were seen 
quietly grazing, mingled with herds of buffaloes, 
superb oxen, and jet-black goats, with their long, 
slender limbs. Nor must we forget the numbers 
of beautiful half-wild horses, proudly tossing their 
curved necks and flowing manes while bounding 
like deer through the valleys and along the steep 
sides of the hills. 

As our vessels glided slowly forward, we dis- 



286 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

tinctly saw the little cots of the Circassians, with 
their smoking chimneys and farm-yards sur- 
rounded by groves of fruit-trees, appearing as 
if the very abodes of contentment and peace ; 
shepherds in their picturesque costume, with long 
spears in their hands, tended their flocks and 
herds; the agricultural fields were filled with 
men, women, and children, cutting down the 
wavingcom ; and camels and buffaloes, loaded with 
the produce, were slowly winding their homeward 
way through the deep valleys. It was indeed a 
lovely picture, which blended the most sublime 
and picturesque scenery with the beauty of roman- 
tic rural life, and realised all that the most lively 
invention of a poet could create of an Arcadia. 

My eyes were never tired of resting on this 
vision of loveliness : and I dwelt on it with feel- 
ings of painful regret, as a picture I never was to 
behold again, aware as I was of the fate to which 
this interesting people are destined, the formi- 
dable power against which they have to contend, 
and the judicious plans laid down to deprive 
them of their country and independence. I 
thought of the young Kabardian I had known at 
Constantinople, of the animated descriptions of 
his country, his romantic attachment for it, his 
disregard of wealth and luxury, his contempt for 
the dress, customs, manners, and habits of 



GHELENDJIK . 287 

the efifeminate Turks. *' Give me/' said he, 
" but my country free and independent ; my 
cot, my friends, my horses, and my arms, and 
I would not exchange my condition with the 
great Padishah of all the Osmanlis." It is pro- 
verbial that mountaineers, even in the most in- 
hospitable regions, are enthusiastic lovers of their 
country; but surely any man possessed of the 
slightest spark of courage, who calls this beautiful 
land his home, would die to defend it, from 
being desecrated by the unhallowed footsteps of 
a foreign tyrant. 

Ghelendjik, the next military possession of 
Russia on the coast of Circassia, being only about 
sixteen miles distant from Soudjouk-Kale, we soon 
came to anchor. This fine bay, called by the 
Circassians Koutloutzi, and by the Turk^ Ja- 
landji-Ghelendjik, is considered one of the safest 
and most commodious harbours in the Black Sea. 
I cannot compare its form to any other object 
more appropriate than an oyster-shell ; being at 
the entrance about three quarters of a mile from 
cape to cape, two miles and a half in length, and 
at its greatest breadth one mile and a quarter. 
In the whole of this space there is capital anchor- 
age, varying in depth from fourteen fathoms to 
four very near the shore, the shallowest part 
being that near a small river on the right bank 



288 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

of the bay ; and as the harbour is protected against 
every wind by the surrounding highlands, the 
mariner has nothing to fear, except when the 
north-east wind descends from the mountains. 

The bay opens into a beautiful valley, called 
Mezip, about a league in length, watered by a 
small fertilising river, commanded by a range of 
hills, and communicating with several others, one 
of which leads to within a few leagues of Soud- 
jouk-Kale, and another on the other side to the 
bay of Pchad. 

The Russians, fully sensible of the importance 
of the bay of Ghelendjik as a commercial and 
military position, took an early opportunity of ap- 
propriating it to themselves ; for we find, shortly 
after the taking of Anapa by that power, and the 
extinction of the commercial alliance between 
the Circassians and the Turks, that the emperor 
issued an ukase, dated St. Petersburg, April 5, 
1832, according permission to all Russian sub- 
jects to form a settlement on the bay of Ghe- 
lendjik, and at the same time granting immunity 
from all taxes and imposts, together with exemp- 
tion from military duty, for the space of twenty- 
five years. 

This permission was, however, given on con- 
dition of defending themselves against the natives; 
but the settlement having been found, on trial, 



GH£L£NDJIK. 289 

untenable, on account of the continued hostility of 
the mountaineers, it was soon abandoned, and now 
merely consists of a Ibrt, formed of intrenchments 
and palisadoes, mounted with heavy guns, and 
manned by a garrison of about two thousand men ; 
who, as in the other fortresses, dare not venture 
from their fastness, the whole of the heights and 
passes being still in possession of the natives. 

The dwellings of the soldiers are a miserable 
assemblage of little cabins, built of wood. How* 
ever, the men appeared more vigorous and healthy 
than in any other of the garrisons we had 
visited ; this was fully evidenced by the hospital, 
which contained no more than between sixty and 
seventy patients. I should therefore be inclined 
to think, that Ghelendjik is a salubrious situation, 
probably the result of the absence of marshes, 
and the increased breadth of the valley. 

Here we found stationed a Russian corvette, a 
brig of war, and two or three cutters, which, to- 
gether with the guns of the fort, saluted us on 
our entrance into the bay. This, added to the 
thunder from our own vessels, had a superb effect ; 
more especially as the neighbouring mountains 
echoed and re-echoed the hoarse roar, till the 
pealing thunder gradually fell fainter on the ear, 
and at length died away in silence. 
But whatever amusement these warlike sounds 

VOL. I. u ^ 



290 VOYAGE ROUND JH£ BLACK SEA. 

might have afforded our delightful party, how dif- 
ferent must have been the feelings of the unhappy 
Circassians, when the horrid crash was repeated 
by the rocks, and resounded through their once 
peaceful valleys. At that moment, no doubt 
many a hardy mountaineer girded his sword, and 
many atimid mother, widi streaming eyes, pressed 
her baby closer to her bosom, and flew to the 
mountain top. O ambition ! how many crimes 
hast thou not caused ! how many miseries inflicted 
upon the human race ! . 

AbQut fourteen or fifteen miles further, we 
passed the bay of Pchad, still in possession of 
the Circassians. Here we saw several small 
vessels lying at some distance up the river, care^ 
fully covered with willows, and shaded by the 
dense foliage on the banks. This was done for 
the twofold purpose of preserving them from the 
rays of the sun, and the observation of the Rus- 
sians ; as a few weeks previous the captain of 
our corvette paid them a visit, when he burned 
nearly the whole of the vessels in the bay. 

The inhabitants were evidently expecting a 
repetition of hostilities ; for, by the aid of .a 
powerful glass, I observed them assembled in 
great numbers, and all well armed. Among the 
groupes were several turbaned heads of the Turks : 
I also clearly saw, that the dense forests which 



BAY OP PCHAD. 291 

lined the shore were filled with men equipped 
with every description of offensive weapon, from 
a rifle^ and bows and arrows, down to a javelin ; 
and not unfrequently, a gallant chieftain galloped 
forth on horseback in glittering armour, attended 
by his squire, and, mounting the summit of a small 
hill, drew his sword and waved it in the air, as 
if defying us to combat. Indeed, we fully ex- 
pected an attack, as we had been already repeat- 
edly fired upon; and, in anticipation of such an 
event, we were amply prepared with the means 
of defence. But I have no such exciting incident 
to record, the only disadvantage it entailed being, 
that we were obliged to steer our course at a 
greater distance from the shore. 

Between Pchad and the bay of Djook (or 
Kodos) I observed more decisive evidences of 
civilisation than any I had previously witnessed. 
Every spot appeared diligently cultivated ; the 
sides of the hills were laid out in pretty fields, 
enclosed with paling, in which numerous flocks 
and herds were feeding, together with several 
horses, evidently of the finest breed. The cot- 
tages, also, appeared better built, with neat ve- 
randahs in front ; and the verdant pastures and 
meadows, intermingled with the golden corn, and 
the dark shades of the groves and clumps of 
forest trees, formed a picture which excited the 
most lively admiration of our whole party. 

u 2 



292 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

We must presume, that the population and the 
industrious habits of the people of Circassia have 
been considerably underrated ; for, if we take into 
account the vast territory they occupy, and the 
number of hands required merely to cultivate one 
of these immense mountains, frequently rising to 
a height of five thousand feet, and, unlike those 
of every other country I have visited, fertile to 
the summit, this people must be not only very 
numerous, but indefatigable agriculturists. 

The scenery we now passed was equally lovely 
with that I have attempted to describe, and only 
wanted the turreted castle, ivied monastery, and 
picturesque village of Europe, with its neat 
church and pointed spire, to be the most charm- 
ing country in the world. But the traveller who 
is already familiar with European landscapes, will 
here find objects and scenes which from their 
novelty must create both surprise and interest. 
And, thank Heaven ! war and desolation do not 
affect the climate ; for the atmosphere is so balmy, 
the air so light and bracing in the vicinity of the 
mountains, as to exceed even that of the finest 
part of Italy. The very mists that hover so 
darkly round our northern mountains, are here 
so light and filmy, that instead of obscuring t^ie 
distant objects, they shed a still richer tint of 
beauty over the whole landscape. Gigantic oak, 



. ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY. 293 

beech, and the wide-spreadiDg valona, crown the 
summits of dizzy heights, which in less favoured 
climes would have exhibited the dark, cold, crip- 
pled pine ; while the sides of the lofty hills, down 
to the rippling stream beneath, bloom with every 
tree, firuit, and flower, in all their rich luxuriance. 

Then for the animated features of the land- 
scape, we had bands of Circassians, headed by 
their chief in bright armour, flying through the 
woods ; camels, loaded with women and children, 
slowly pacing along the beach, varied by the ap- 
pearance of some noble dame, covered with her 
white veil and mounted on her Arab steed, and 
attended by her women. And, to give a still 
further variety, these were a people different 
from every other, a people who have maintained 
their independence, while the most powerful 
nations upon earth fell in succession beneath the 
sway of the barbarian, or the rule of the proud 
conqueror of civilised life ; a people living in all 
the primitive simplicity of the ancient patriarchs, 
still retaining their own laws, customs, and uian<» 
ners from time immemorial ; a race the most 
beautiful upon the face of the globe, and who 
have never been contaminated by a mixture with 
the blood of foreigners. 

About twenty miles distant from Pch.ad, we 



294 VOYAOE ROUND tHE BLACK SEA. 

perceived the little bay of Djook, occasionally 
visited by Turkish trading-vessels, several of 
which were lying in the harbour. It presents 
the form of a semicircle, and might measure three 
quarters of a mile in diameter^ offers tolerable 
good anchorage, and is still in possession of the 
natives ; and, from the number of cottages, and 
the well-cultivated fields in the neighbourhood, 
we concluded the population to be considerable. 
The valley of Djook is considered to form the 
boundary between the provinces of Upper and 
Lower Abasia. 

A little further are also several other bays and 
sinuosities with small rivers. The most impor- 
tant are those called Mamai and Ardtler; the 
latter is so inconsiderable, as scarcely to deserve 
the name of a harbour ; but, being protected 
by a cape from the fury of the north wind, 
which in this part of the Black Sea often blows 
with great violence, it is most frequently visited, 
particularly by the Turks, the only strangers who 
attempt trading with the Circassia-Abasians ; a 
people said to be more piratical, ferocious, and 
suspicious of foreigners, than any other among 
the confederate tribes of Circassia. This suspi- 
cion has been considerably augmented since the 
attempt of Russia to subdue them : hence 



DEFILE OF JAGllA. 295 

every stranger is now regarded as a Russian 
spy, and certain of being shot or condemned to 
slavery, unless protected by one of their chiefs. 

We next cast anchor at the bay of Vadran, 
distant twenty miles from Djook. Here com- 
mences the famous defile called Jagra, at the 
entrance of which the Russians have a settle-* 
ment, consisting of a few houses, and the ruins of 
a church and a monastery. The latter has been 
converted into barracks ; but the Circassians hav-^ 
ing possession of the upper part of the defile^ 
and the mountains which command the fort, the 
military are momentarily exposed to their attacks, 
and almost certain of being shot if they move Out 
of their quarters, and not unfrequently this has 
been the case in the courtyard of their barracks. 

The first care of the count was to visit the hos- 
pital, which unfortunately was filled with the sick 
and dying soldiers. The medical attendants in- 
formed me, with much gravity, that the malady 
then raging with such fatal results at Vadran, was 
the yellow fever, so prevalent in some parts of 
America and the West Indies. Although I do 
not pretend to be acquainted with the science of 
medicine, yet experience and observation having 
in some degree instructed me, I felt quite as- 
sured, with all due deference to the learned 
disciples of Galen, that they w^ere in error ; and 



296 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

that the disorder was in reality the bilious re-* 
mittent fever, as the invalids exhibited all the 
symptoms which usually characterise that fatal 
disorder in the east For instance, great irrita- 
bility of the stomachy yellowness of the eyes, a 
vomiting of dark-coloured bile, intense headache, 
a pain and fulness about the left side, and gene- 
rally diarrhoea. At all events, the disease ap- 
peared to have made most fearful ravages on the 
health of the garrison ; for the whole, not even 
excepting the officers, wore an aspect so bloated 
and cadaverous, that, instead of being equal to 
the performance of military duties, they seemed 
scarcely able to drag on a miserable existence. 



OREBK CHDHCH BDILT BY JDSTINUN AT PITZODNDA. 

LETTER XXVIII. 

INCREASED ALTITUDE OP THE MOUNTAINS — PITZOONDA^ 
EXCDBStON TO THE PORTRESS — SUPERB POREBTS — CON* 
TRAST BETWEEN TUB CIRCASSIANS AND THE RUSSIANS— 

GBBBKCHURCHANDHONABTBRY EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIAN 

FBBLINO STILL EXISTING AHONO THE NATIVES — TRADI- 
TION CONNECTED WITH THE CHURCH — ANTIQUITY OP PIT- 
ZOUNDA. 

Between Vadran and Pitzounda the mountains 
rose to a very coosiderable altitude; some 
were even crowned with snow, while forests of 
gigantic trees covered their sides down to the 
water's edge : the country also became more 
savage in its aspect, more thinly populated, wild, 



298 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

and solitary; and the beautifully undulating 
fields I so much admired in Lower Abasia had 
totally disappeared. 

This was the longest voyage we had made 
without stopping, being eighty miles; conse- 
quently we experienced no little satisfaction on 
entering the vast bay of Pitzounda, a bay not 
more celebrated for its excellent anchorage and 
the great depth of water, than for its protected 
situation, being sheltered against the land winds 
by a chain of mountains, and from those of the 
sea by an elevated promontory, leaving it only 
exposed to the south-east, which, I understand, 
from the accounts of our Russian navigators to be 
by no means dangerous in this part of the Black 
Sea. 

The fortress is about two miles distant from 
the coast ; to which our way led through a forest 
of splendid trees^ partially thinned since the 
occupation of the fort by the Russians. The 
oak, the beech, and the chesnut were among the 
finest of their species : the cherry-trees exceeded 
in size any that I had ever seen before, and 
appeared indigenous to the soil. The wild olive, 
the fig, the pomegranate in full bloom, and vines 
of enormous growth wreathed from tree to tree, 
breathed luxuriance, and a thousand rare plants 
and flowers the most refreshing fragrance. 



PITZOUNDA. 299 

The weather still continued delightful ; and 
towards the close of evening, as we promenaded 
through a fertile plain at the foot of the snow- 
crowned Alps of the Caucasus, the glowing sun 
shooting its slanting beams through the branches 
of the trees, we thoroughly enjoyed our little 
expedition ; and as we glided through the 
mighty giants of the forest, the officers in their 
brilliant uniforms, and the ladies in their musKn 
robes, formed a striking contrast with the wild 
contour of the inhabitants, who, armed with 
musket, sword, and poniard, flocked in numbers 
to gaze at us. 

We were now in the country of the Circassians 
of Upper Abasia, whose costume difiered in 
some trifling degree from that of the Circassian 
noble I described while at Soudjouk-Kale. The 
colour of their dress was either dark green or 
the autumnal brown, and I thought the cap and 
mantle most convenient articles of dress ; the 
former, of a whitish colour, is made from goat's 
hair in a conical shape with two long ears, which, 
hanging over their shoulders, serve as a protec- 
tion against rain, and in fine weather form a tur- 
ban : a similar head-dress is worn by the Greeks 
in the Archipelago. The mantle, also made from 
a mixture of goats' and camels* hair, is perfectly 
impenetrable to the rain. 



300 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

This being the first time I had penetrated so 
far into the interior of a country rarely pressed 
by the foot of any European traveller, so im- 
perfectly known, and so little noticed either in 
ancient or modem history, my curiosity was 
much excited, and I regarded every object with 
the deepest interest. It was also the first time 
that I had seen the Circassians mingling on 
friendly terms with the Russian soldiers; and 
assuredly a more striking contrast than the two 
people presented, both in physical appearance 
and moral expression, it is impossible to conceive. 

The one, with symmetrical forms and classic 
features, seemed breathing statues of immortal 
Greece ; the other, coarse-looking, short, and thick* 
limbed, appeared like an inferior race of beings. 
But if the physical line of demarcation was broad, 
the moral was still broader. The mountaineer, 
free as the eagle on the wing, stepped and moved, 
as if proudly conscious of his independence, with 
a dauntless self-confidence not unmixed with 
scorn, that none but a child of liberty could 
exhibit in his bearing ; and which reminded me 
of the majestic Albanian, or Scott's Highland 
chieftain, when he exclaimed. 

My foot's upon my native heath. 
And my name's Mac Gregor/' 

The mass of the Russians displayed the air and 



PITZOUNDA, 301 

manner of. men always accustomed to be com- 
manded, and to pay the most implicit deference 
to the will of their superiors in rank ; but as we 
have none such in England, I am at a loss for 
a comparison that will afford you an idea of this 
sort of bearing in men. 

The chief of the tribe inhabiting this part of 
the country, who resided some few leagues dis- 
tant, is said to be friendly to the Russian govern- 

« 

ment ; but, much to the annoyance of our party, 
he did not make his appearance, although it was 
confidently anticipated that we should have had 
the pleasure of seeing him. 

The fortress is situated in the interior of a 
ruined monastery ; to which is attached a church 
built in the form of the Greek cross, and in 
admirable preservation, when we consider that it 
was erected by the Emperor Justinian. 

On the extinction of the Byzantine empire 
by the Turks, it appears that these fanatics, on 
taking possession of Pitzounda, destroyed the 
convent ; but whether through the pious inter- 
cession of the inhabitants, or from fear of irritat- 
ing the people, the church was spared, and now 
remains one of the most interesting architectural 
monuments in these countries. The vignette 
appended to this letter is an exact representa- 
tion. 



302 VOYAGE UOUND THE BLACK SEA. 

Centuries having elapsed since it was used as 
a temple of christian worship, it has unfortu* 
nately become considerably dilapidated ; but as 
the manuscripts, ornaments, and furniture have 
been religiously preserved by the natives, I 
understand the Emperor Nicholas has given 
orders that it should be put in complete repair ; 
and although the majority of the people have 
embraced the creed of Mahomet, they still regard 
the christian edifice with the deepest veneration. 
This feeling is carried to such an extreme, 
(founded no doubt upon ancient usage,) that 
even the greatest malefactor in the adjoining 
countries finds within its walls an inviolable 
sanctuary from the pursuit of justice. 

One of the officers of the garrison related a 
tradition, which still further attests the belief of 
the inhabitants in the sacred character of the 
building. ** Shortly after the subjection of Pit- 
zounda to the Ottoman rule, a Turk entered the 
church and stole some articles of value : the 
natives reproached him with the profanation, 
but they received no other answer than scorn for 
their credulity, and laughter for their supersti- 
tion. The vengeance of Heaven, however, 
according to the Circassians, was not slow to 
overtake the infidel ; for as he was stepping into 
the boat with his sacrilegious plunder, the angel 



PITZOUNDA. 303 

of death sent fire from on high and destroyed 
him, but the sacred relics were left unscathed by 
the lightning's blaze ! " 

The learned and well informed of our party 
concurred in the opinion that Pitzounda must 
have been the site of the ancient Pythus, usually 
called the Grand Py thus ; and also that it formed 
the frontier of the Byzantine empire on this side 
of Asia. It is also said, that the inhabitants are 
more assimilated to European usages in their 
manners, less ferocious in their dispositions, and 
less tenacious of their independence, than any 
other of the tribes of the Caucasus. 

The distance between Pitzounda and Souchom- 
Kale is computed to be about thirty miles. In 
consequence of the great heat of the weather, we 
performed this voyage by night : consequently 
my descriptive powers mOst lie in abeyance, 
which probably you will not very much regret. 
However, from the faint outline I was able to 
perceive, the scenery continued to become of a 
still more alpine character, and we arrived at 
our destination about four o'clock in the morning. 



VIEW OF THB BAT OF SOUCHOM-KALK. 

LETTER XXIX. 

DESTBDCTION OF SOUCBOM-KALE BY THK RUSSIANS DAN- 

OBRS TO THB OARRISON FROM THB CUHATS AND THE 
ENHITT OF THB NATIVES — VOV A QB TO HKDODT-KALB — IB- 
KUBIA AND ANAKRIA — PROVINCE OF HINOBELIA — CHANQED 

ASPECT OF TUB COUNTRY INTEBKINABLB FORESTS — A 

STORM DAKOEB OF PASSING THB BAR — KHOPI — EXCDB- 

8I0N DP THB BIVEB — LANDING AT BEDOUT-KALB DBSO< 

LATE ASPECT OF TUB TOWN. 

Souchom-Kalb, like Pitzounda, is intereating 
for its historical remiDiacences, most antiquarians 
agreeing that it is built upon, or near the site of, 
the famous Dioscuriaa, which also bore the name 
of Sevastopol. This opinion receives addi- 
tional confirmation from the remains of the forti- 



SOUCHOM-KALE. 305 

fications and other ruins in the neighbourhood. 
It is now, however, a miserable place, and one 
of the most injurious to the health of the Russian 
soldiers of any station we had previously visited. 

From the accounts of the Turks, we learn that 
Souchom-Kale, when in their possession, was a 
very considerable town, with a population of three 
thousand ; whereas at present it has decreased to 
little more than a dozen wretched huts, inhabited 
by a few Greeks and Armenians. The reason 
assigned by rumour for this extraordinary decline 
in prosperity and decrease of population is, that 
it was destroyed some years since by the 
Russians, in revenge for the treachery of the 
inhabitants, who it was said were in the practice 
of betraying the soldiers of the garrison into the 
power of their enemies the mountaineers, when 
they were carried to a distant part of Circassia 
and sold to the Turks and Persians as slaves. 

The fortress, built in the form of a square, bears 
a Turkish inscription over the entrance. It was 
in a most dilapidated state, but, as usual, brist- 
ling with cannon; and, like all the others I had 
seen in Circassia, not intended to repel an inva- 
sion by sea so much as an attack by land, which 
was evidently the danger principally apprehended, 
as guards were stationed in the vicinity with the 
same care as if the enemy had been at the gates. 

VOL. I. X 



306 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

So perilous, however, is the service, that the 
sentinels retire at the close of evening within the 
walls for protection, when the dogs are turned 
out, who are so well trained that they never fail 
to give notice of approaching danger. Indeed, 
so intense is the animosity of the Circassians in 
this district, that no safety exists for the Russian 
soldier beyond the walls. If he goes forth to pro- 
cure wood and water, he is obliged to be accom- 
panied by a guard and field-pieces, in the same 
manner as at the fortresses I have already men- 
tioned; and notwithstanding all this precaution, 
they are every day falling victims to the bullets 
of an enemy the most insidious and indefatigable. 
Still, I understood from the officers at Sou- 
chom-Kale, that they were on more friendly terms 
with the neighbouring Circassian tribes of Upper 
Abasia, who frequently come down from their 
mountains, effect some trifling barter with the 
Armenian merchants, and peaceably return ; 
the great danger to be apprehended being from 
the hostility of the inhabitants of Lower Abasia. 
Here we also perceived the very extensive ruins 
of a monastery and church, evidently, from its 
architecture, of very ancient date. 

On leaving Souchom-Kale, we passed close to 
the unimportant bays of Iscuria, distant twelve 
miles ; Anakria, thirty-two ; together with the 



THE INGOUR. 307 

ruins of the ancient Kellassour. Anakria, said 
to have been built on the site of the once splendid 
city Heraclea, in the kingdom of Pontus, is the 
most interesting settlement on this part of the 
coast^ whether we consider it with reference to its 
ancient or modern history. It is situated at the 
confluence of the Ingour and Agis ; and even so 
late as a few years since, while in possession of 
the Turks, was a considerable commercial town, 
when it is said to have carried on, in fish and 
pretty girls, a very lucrative trade with Stamboul 
and Trebizond. 

The Ingour abounds with fish, particularly the 
sturgeon: therearealso salmon and herrings; the 
latter, though diminutive in size, are of the most 
exquisite flavour. But, singular to say, like the 
Celts of our own country, the natives of these 
provinces, and the Tartars of the Crimea, rarely 
make use of fish as an article of food. If we may 
be allowed to form an opinion from this circum- 
stance, and from the general similarity of their 
habits, as detailed to us by some Russian officers, 
who had been quartered among them for several 
years, they would appear to have been originally 
of the same family. 

Along the whole of this coast of the Black Sea, 
particularly between the riverlngourand the Agis, 
is found that vei7 rare fish called the cepkahy from 

X 2 



308 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

whose eggs the most recherche caviare is made, 
a delicacy at one time held in the highest estima- 
tion by the accomplished gourmands of StambouL 
But since the Turks have lost these provinces, 
the fishery, which was so profitable to the natives, 
has been completely abandoned, and the town of 
Anakria nearly deserted. 

In truth, the whole of the settlements we had 
visited since we left the Crimea, and which figure 
on the Russian chart under the high-sounding 
appellation of fortresses, whatever they may have 
been under the rule of the Turk, consist at pre- 
sent of nothing better than dilapidated walls and 
intrenchments : most likely the natives, being 
Mahometans, emigrated to Turkey, when these 
provinces fell under the rule of Russia. Never- 
theless, however insignificant, each had a vessel 
or vessels of war at anchor before it, which saluted 
us, and we of course returned the civility ; and 
assuredly, never since the invention of gun- 
powder were the natives of Circassia serenaded 
with such uproarious music, which must at least 
have had the effect of causing them to suspend 
their agricultural employments for the more 
warlike ones of arming themselves, stationing 
picquets, — in short, of preparing to meet the 
expected invasion. 

A few miles beyond Souchom-Kale, the pro- 



DESOLATE ASPECT OF MINGRELIA. 309 

vince of Mingrelia commenceSy when we bade 
adieu to the deh'ghtful country of Circassia. The 
first aspect of Mingrelia was by no means cal- 
culated to impress us with a favourable idea of 
that Russian province, since the mountains in all 
their picturesque variety, that had so longcheered 
us on our coasting voyage, now receded from 
the shore to a considerable distance, leaving an 
immense plain covered with impenetrable forests, 
quite as savage in appearance and depopulated 
as any I had seen in the wilds of South America ; 
but^ beyond these, in the far distance at the foot 
of the 'Caucasian Alps, we occasionally caught 
a glimpse of the high lands of Imeritia, and 
the country of the Circassian Suoni tribes, beau- 
tifully laid out in agricultural fields, and so 
thickly studded trith cottages, as to indicate a 
very numerous population. 

On approaching Redout-Kale, the weather, 
which had been hitherto delightful, suddenly 
changed to violent rain and high winds. The 
aspect of the sea was frightful, the waves run- 
ning mountains high ; but most fortunately its 
worst fury had been spent, as the captain of a 
Russian brig of war we spoke with assured us 
that it had been blowing quite a hurricane for 
several days. It would appear from the accounts 
of the Russian sailors, that this part of the Euxine 
is frequently visited by storms, particularly in the 



310 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

vicinity of the rivers Phase and Khopi, which 
they attributed to the clouds and vapours being 
driven into this contracted part of the sea and 
then intercepted by the Caucasian Alps, until, 
after successive accumulations, they burst forth 
in tempests, and continue, not like those of 
Europe for a few hours, but for days, with 
scarcely any interruption. 

We cast anchor about half a mile distant from 
the mouth of the Khopi, the ancient Cyannes, 
with the intention of taking to our boats and 
sailing up that famous river to visit the town 
and fortress of Redout-Kale ; but this,* in the 
present state of the turbulent sea, appeared an 
undertaking of some difficulty and no little peril. 
The prudence of attempting such a voyage was 
long debated, for there was dot the slightest 
appearance of an opening through the foaming 
bar, that rose like a mountain before us ; indeed, 
the whole shore, as far as the eye could reach, 
was guarded by a boiling surge resembling a 
vast rampart of snow. 

At length, the captain of the corvette having 
given his opinion that it was possible to cross the 
bar, our autocrat, a spirited man, was one of the 
first to jump into the boat ; but as there was some 
slight appearance of danger, our party, this time 
at least, consisted of very few : to the honour, 
however, of our fair companions, every one 



CROSSING THE BAR OF THE KHOPI. 311 

volunteered to accompany us. The consuls of 
England and France followed their own timid 
counsels, and clung to the ponderous walls of 
the corvette, declaring they would not venture 
through such a surge, if a kingdom were to be 
the prize I 

We had, indeed, a severe contest with the 
boisterous element ; and as our little barks fre- 
quently bounded against the sands, and again 
ascended the summit of a mountain wave, not a 
few of our party, unaccustomed to such stormy 
navigation, exhibited every symptom of intense 

fear ; but brave hearts and skilful rowers proved 

• 

victorious, and we entered the mouth of the 
Khopi in safety, though not without encountering 
another peril. This was caused by the river being 
much swollen by the late rains ; and the moun- 
tain torrents having swept down numbers of up- 
rooted trees, these were now battling against the 
surge at the bar, and interposed a formidable 
obstacle to our progress. This also being happily 
surmounted, we found ourselves in the river, 
which flowed tranquil as a lake, with a depth of 
water sufficient to receive vessels of considerable 
burden ; from whence we glided onward, without 
any further interruption, till we came to Redout- 
Kal^, which might have been between three or 
four worsts distant. 



312 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

About two wersts from the mouth of the Khopi, 
we came to another river called the Syba, which, 
though narrow, is said to be considerably deeper 
than the Khopi. Here the idea immediately 
occurs to the traveller, that this would have been 
the preferable site upon which to erect a commer- 
cial town ; but on inquiry we found that, owing 
to the flatness of the surrounding country, it is 
often exposed to serious inundations from the 
frequency of rain in the Alps, and the number of 
torrents that empty their waters into the Khopi. 

How easily might this inconvenience be reme- 
died by the simple expedient of a few embank- 
ments ! A very smalfoutlay of capital would be 
sufiicient to clear away the sand at the mouth of 
the river, render it navigable, and consequently 
improve the fertility and salubrity of the adjacent 
country ; for, let it be remembered, that when 
the bar is once passed, we enter a depth of water 
varying from twenty feet to six or seven, and 
extending to a distance of from eight to ten 
wersts. The Khopi, which taken altogether is a 
fine river, rises in the Alps, from whence it fer- 
tilizes, on its way to the Euxine, the plains of 
Mingrelia. The whole course of this river is 
computed to be about a hundred wersts. 

The country in the vicinity of Redout-Kale 
presents one monotonous flat ; the soil, of a deep 



REDOUT-KALE. 313 

dark mould , is rich to exuberance. Here and 
there might be seen a marsh of considerable 
extent, covered with reeds and sedges, which 
had attained in this land of nature a most incre- 
dible height, and I do not exaggerate when I say 
that the reeds exceeded fourteen feet ; but the 
exhalations emitted by these swamps too plainly 
told that death lay in their vicinity. Indeed, you 
cannot conceive anything more prejudicial to 
health than the moist and heated atmosphere of 
these countries in wet weather ; the air is then 
continually charged with a miasma, the most 
relaxing and debilitating to the frame of man. 

I was much disappointed in the aspect of Re- 
dout-Kale, particularly as, from the accounts I had 
previously received, I expected to have found a 
very considerable town, populous and commer- 
cial ; instead of which, it is one of the most mise- 
rable places you can imagine. There was not a 
single trading vessel belonging to any nation 
whatever in the river ; its spacious bazaars, so 
lately filled with the productions of Europe, were 
all closed, and the remnant of its sallow-com- 
plexioned inhabitants seemed to have nothing 
better to occupy their time than to sit the whole 
day upon little bulrush mats, smoke the tchi- 
bouque, and gaze at the stranger. 

This great change in the destiny of Redout- 



314 VOTAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

Kale has been effected by the impolitic conduct of 
the Russian government, which, ever solicitous to 
throw impediments in the way of British industry, 
imposed heavy restrictive duties on all foreign 
manufactures : these of course operated their 
usual effect, that of turning away the channel of 
commerce from the town. Prior to this, Redout* 
Kale was the great depot for English manufac- 
tures on their way to Persia, Georgia, and the 
neighbouring eastern provinces of Russia and 
Turkey, being conveyed thither from this place 
by caravans. The merchant, finding it impos- 
sible to sustain himself against so many vexatious 
restrictions, removed with his capital and 
industry to the more liberal government of the 
Sultan, and settled at Trebizond ; since which 
time that town has risen, and continues rising, 
to a state of prosperity and commercial enterprise 
unequalled in any other port of the Euxine. 
Thus the Russian government has the double 
mortification of seeing commerce, that great civi- 
liser of nations, transferred to a power which it 
is her interest to weaken, and her own eastern 
provinces thrown back on their own inadequate 
resources. 

Since this event, the Russian government, not 
having correctly calculated the consequence of 
its restrictive duties, and too late conscious of 



REDOUT-KALE. 315 

its loss, made several ineffectual attempts, by the 
introduction of a more liberal system, to re-esta- 
blish commercial intercourse between Redout- 
Kale and the European merchants who were 
accustomed to visit it. This plan has not, how^ 
ever, succeeded^ as is ever the case when the 
stream of commerce has once changed its course. 
Independently of this, there is also another insu- 
perable barrier against the prosperity of this un- 
lucky town, arising from the great prevalence of 
fevers, particularly during autumn, when the me- 
phitic air is so powerful, that the stranger is nearly 
certain of imbibing infection who merely sleeps 
one night within its pestiferous walls. In order 
to escape its influence, the merchants and traders 
were formerly obliged to hurry on board the ves- 
sels lying outside the bar every evening, and 
there pass the night ; and if we had no other 
evidence, the bloated sallow countenances of the 
Russian soldiers belonging to the garrison that I 
now saw, sufficiently indicated the noxious quality 
of the air. 

The attempt to re-establish commerce at this 
port having failed, Poti on the Phase, being situ- 
ated twenty or thirty leagues nearer the Turkish 
frontier, and consequently considered a more 
desirable entrepot for commerce, is about to be 
declared a free port, with the intention of draw- 



316 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

ing away capital and enterprise from the prosper- 
ous rival Trebizond. I much doubt, however, 
whether the speculation will succeed to the ex- 
tent anticipated by the Russian authorities ; for 
vessels entering the Phase are subject to the same 
inconveniences, from the shallowness of the bar, 
as those which pass into the Khopi, and the town 
of Poti, owing to the marshes in its vicinity, is 
considered by no means a healthy station. 

But to return to Redout-Kale : the town is 
built for the most part on piles, with the ex- 
ception of the main street, which is composed 
of a long range of houses, or bazaars, extending 
to at least a werst in length : these, which are 
only one story high, are all constructed of wood, 
with little verandahs in front, and the ground 
being low, whenever the river rises beyond the 
common height, the town is completely inun- 
dated. 

While lounging through the streets, I perceived 
a greater variety in the dresses of the inhabitants 
than I had hitherto seen in these provinces ; and 
as each retained their separate costume, Geor- 
gians, Persians, Mingrelians, Gourials, and Im- 
meritians, were separately pointed out to me : 
the whole were armed except the Georgians, 
Persians, and Armenians, who simply carried in 
a belt of red silk a large poulard with an ivory 



REDOUT-KALE. 317 

handle : the costume of these was a blouse of blue 
cloth, the sleeves open at the elbow, wide Turk- 
ish trowsers, and a high cap of black Astrakan 
fur. 

The dress of the M ingrelians somewhat resem- 
bled that of their neighbours the Circassians; but 
in general they were very much inferior in per- 
sonal appearance, the majority of those we saw 
being rather below than above the middle height. 
The whole of the inhabitants of these provinces 
have the custom, like most eastern nations, of 
shaving the head : instead of a turban they cover 
it with a thick fur cap, usually of lamb-skin, and 
they must have been possessed of most salamander 
constitutions ; for though it was now noon day, 
and the weather excessively warm, not a few had 
enveloped themselves in immense black mantles 
made from plaited goats' hair, which must have 
been, independent of its inconvenience, a burden 
of no inconsiderable weight for the bearer to sup- 
port ; but probably, like those of the Spaniard, 
they serve the double purpose of a protection 
against the heat of the sun and the inclemency 
of the weather. 

It appears that the peasants of M ingrelia do 
not speak the Circassian dialect, which is only 
used by the princes and nobles, who claim a com- 
mon origin with the untameable spirits of Circas- 



318 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

&ia, and never intermarry with the daughters of 
any other of the Caucasian tribes. The correct- 
ness of this was confirmed by the Russian officers 
of the garrison, from whom we received many 
interesting detaib respecting these provinces and 
their inhabitants, and who represented the nobles 
of Mingrelia, and indeed nearly the whole of 
those of the Caucasian provinces, as a race alto- 
gether distinctfrom their dependants, being every- 
where distinguished by the same regular features 
and athletic form, the same bold daring and 
contempt of danger, as the intrepid mountaineer 
of Circassia, whom they also resemble in their 
attachment for fine weapons and beautiful horses, 
in their impatience of control, love of liberty, 
and dexterity in the performance of warlike exer- 
cises. It is remarkable, that in whatever country 
this singular race have established themselves, 
they have been distinguished for the most un- 
doubted bravery. In Egypt, under the name of 
Mamelukes, although a mere handful of men, it 
is well known that they maintained themselves 
independent in defiance of the whole force of 
Mehemet Ali, who, finding that he could not 
subdue them by open force, had recourse to a 
massacre so treacherous and horrible, that it 
would have disgraced an African savage. 

In Mingrelia, as well as in the other Caucasian 



REDOUT-KALE. 319 

provinces we visited, both noble and peasant 
never leave home without being well armed ; and 
as this privilege is not usually extended to the 
subjects of Russia, we must infer that either her 
power is not yet fully established over these coun* 
tries, or that she only exercises a species of feu- 
dal sovereignty, in which the inhabitants are still 
left in possession of their independence. Be this 
as it may, their condition has been in many 
respects considerably ameliorated since they have 
fallen under her sceptre ; they are now no longer 
continually exposed to the devastating inroads of 
their neighbours the Turks and Persians ; pro- 
perty is respected, and no rapacious Pacha can 
rob the peasant of his hard earnings : they also 
retain many of their laws and institutions, and 
are left in a great measure to the rule of their 
own princes, while in religion they enjoy the most 
perfect liberty of conscience. 

Notwithstanding all these privileges, such is 
their hatred of foreign rule, that they never 
omit an opportuuity of evincing their hostility 
towards the Russian government, if not open* 
ly, at least by aiding their neighbours the 
Circassians, whom it is said they supply with 
ammunition, and even frequently join their ranks. 
The Russian. soldier may, however, felicitate him- 
self upon possessing one advantage over his com- 



320 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

rades stationed in the fortresses of Circassia ; be 
has only a single enemy to contend with — ^marsh 
miasma, rarely experiencing any inconvenience 
from the hostility of the natives, with whom he 
mingles upon the most friendly terms. 

As you may suppose, I felt not a little surprised 
on learning that a Mr. Marr, an enterprising son 
of Caledonia, was a resident in this very remote 
country. He had been originally settled as a 
merchant at Redout-Kale, but on the extinction 
of commerce in that town, retired into the interior 
and became a farmer ; Prince Dabian of Mingrelia, 
with whom he is a great favourite, having pre- 
sented him with a grant of land. It appears that 
the miasma, so prejudicial to the Russian garri- 
son on the coast, does not extend into the interior ; 
for the officers, who frequently visit the Scot, 
informed me that both himself and family were 
enjoying the most robust health. His sons, who 
had been educated with great care in Europe, on 
their return to their father, such is the force of 
example, completely assimilated themselves to the 
manners of the natives : and the young Caledo- 
nians may now be numbered among the most 
daring hunters in the wilds of Mingrelia, where 
at least they are always certain of finding plenty 
of sport ; for besides that the forests abound with 
deer, boars, and bears, — buffaloes, sheep, and 
horses are frequently met with in a wild state. 



RETURN TO ThE CRIMEA, 321 



LETTER XXX. 

RBTURN TO THE CRIMEA — RUSSIAN SEAMANSHIP — A REAR* 
ADMIRAL — FORTUNATE ESCAPE PROM SHIPWRECK — FIRST 
VIEW OF MOUNT ELBEROUS — DIFFICULTY OF LANDING AT 

BOMBORA TISIT TO THE FORTRESS EXTRAORDINARY 

FERTILITY OF THE SOIL NUMBER OF REPTILES — LAND 

TORTOISE — HOSPITALITY OF THE ABASIANS TOWN OF 

BOMBORA — NOBLE OF ABASIA CHARACTERISTICS OF THE 

ABASIANS. 

The continuance of tempestuous weather and 
violent rains had now taken from our voyage all 
its charms, for hitherto we glided over the bosom 
of the Euxine, enjoying as much tranquillity and 
pleasure as if engaged in a boating excursion on 
the calm expanse of one of our own pretty little 
lakes in Cumberland ; and our party, who until 
now had passed their time in gaiety and amuse- 
menty were with few exceptions suffering from 
sea-sickness, and of course continually expressed 
themselves weary of trusting their enjoyment to 
the caprice of so fickle an element. The original 
plan, therefore, of visiting the river Phase, the 
Russian fortress Kionskia, the Turkish provinces 

VOL. I. Y 



322 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

Armenia, Sivias, Anadolia, together with the 
towns of Trebizond and Sinope, was abandoned, 
and our immediate return to the Crimea decided 
upon. 

Having regained our vessels, the necessary 
preparations were made for departure ; but the 
storm increasing, and the swell of the sea being 
very great, we were obliged to remain at anchor 
in the roads during the night. Under these cir- 
cumstances, and in order to ensure more fully tlie 
safety of his noble freight, our rear*admiral volun- 
teered to keep the watch on board the steamer ; 
but whether the juice of the grape^ so liberally 
circulated at the table of his excellency, or the 
malicious influence of Morpheus, had the effect of 
steeping his senses in sweet forgetfulness, I know 
not ; but certain it is, our rare admiral fell into a 
profound slumber, and was only awakened from 
his delightful dreams by the loud exclamations of 
one of the sailors, who discovered that the anchor 
had slipped its moorings, and our little vessel was 
fast drifting towards the tremendous corvette. 

As a remedy against the danger, the admiral 
and the captain proposed tliat the steam should 
be immediately got up ! Now all persons con- 
versant in any degree with steam navigation are 
aware that this undertaking, particularly when the 
boiler is cold, cannot be effected in a few minutes. 



ESCAP£ FROM SHIPWRECK. 323 

and in the present instance our vessel was so 
near the corvette, that before the boiler could 
have been heated we should have been most pro*- 
bably sleeping with the fishes. 

Fortujpiately our safety was confided to an abler 
guardiftn, for we had on board an English mate ; 
his name has now escaped my memory, but of 
whose conduct and abilities I cannot speak too 
highly. His quick comprehension not only saw the 
danger, but provided a remedy, and, like an in- 
trepid Briton, at the risk of his life, for the sea 
was frightfully convulsed, he jumped into a boat 
with two of his best sailors, carrying with him an 
anchor ; and, indeed, to his exertions we may prin- 
cipally attribute our deliverance from theimpend- 
ing peril. The captain of the corvette also aided 
his endeavours, so far as circumstances would 
permit, by repeated warpings, till the steam was 
in sufficient force to set the machinery in motion. 

During the whole of this time, as may well be 
supposed, the scene on the deck of the steamer 
baffled description. Fortunately the women with 
their attendants happened to be on board the cor- 
vette; but the remaining passengers, aroused from 
their slumbers, and exaggerating the danger by 
their fears, rushed in their robes de nuit upon 
deck, where they stood trembling, — nobles and 
serfs mingled togetlier for the first time, and re- 

Y 2 



324 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

gardless of the pelting rain, remained counting 
the moments that were likely to intervene be- 
tween them and eternity. Truth to say, the ves- 
sels at one time were within a few paces of coming 
in collision : if this had taken place, the steam- 
boat stood a fair chance of seeing the bottom of 
the Euxine, and, from the very heavy surge, I 
doubt much whether the boats of the corvette 
could have rendered us any very effectual assist- 
ance. The weather having changed somewhat 
for the better, the following morning we conti- 
nued our voyage homeward, for the anchorage 
is so bad in the roads of Redout-Kale, that in 
the event of another storm occurring, we could 
not have anticipated with any confidence shelter 
and security. 

We now stood out at a considerable distance 
from the shore, and occasionally caught, in spite 
of the hazy atmosphere, a momentary glimpse 
of the Caucasian Alps, whose highest peak, the 
stupendous Elberous, rising nearly 17,000 feet 
above the level of the sea, seemed like a 
mighty pyramid of snow enveloped in clouds 
so dark, that from the contrast they appeared 
of a jet black. 

We had not been long at sea, when it was dis- 
covered that the boiler of the steam engine re- 
quired cleaning, which obliged us to make for the 



DIFFICULTY OF LANDING. 325 

first Russian fortress ; accordingly wte reached 
Bombora in Abasia the following day, being the 
only one that we had not previously visited. To 
effect a landing at this place was indeed a difficult 
enterprise, there being neither bay, .harbour, nor 
any other accommodation for that purpose : add 
to this, the storm of the preceding evening had 
left a very considerable swell. 

In anticipation of these difficulties, the com- 
manding officer of the garrison ordered a com- 
pany of soldiers to carry the passengers from the 
boats to the shore. This was a command more 
easy to give than to execute, as it required no 
small degree of expertness even to lay hold of 
our barks, now tossed on the summit of the wave, 
and then plunged into the watery valley : he was 
indeed fortunate among our party, who landed 
without any other inconvenience than a thorough 
drenching ; for several, swept by the violence of 
the swell, were obliged to swim for their lives, 
the whole forming, as you may suppose, a scene 
sufficiently ludicrous to draw forth loud peals 
of laughter. 

The ladies bravely determined to follow our ex- 
ample, and land in defiance of the angry element. 
They, however, fortunately fared much better 
than we did, the captain of the corvette having 
succeeded in running his light gig with the swell 



326 VOYAGE ROUND TR£ BLACK SEA. 

of the wave bo completely ashore, so as to get be- 
yond the reach of the enemy. 

After visiting the fortifications on the coast, 
and the ruins of a church and monastery built by 
the Genoese,. we continued our route to the prin* 
cipal fortress, distant about three wersts. Like 
that at Pitzounda, our way led for some time 
through a dense forest : here we perceived the 
box, which in Europe is a dwarf shrub, a perfect 
giant of the forest ; the juniper of such colossal 
dimensions as to measure fifteen feet in circum- 
ference ; and the oak, with the largest leaves I 
had ever seen, adorning the valleys and lining the 
sides of the lofty hills in such abundance, as to 
create the belief that Russia might here alone find 
a nursery sufficient to furnish her with wood for 
ship-building during centuries. 

The arbutus andrachne, the oleander and the 
tamarisk, the olive and the fig, the rhododendron 
and the pomegranate, were everywhere to be 
seen in all their variegated tints and rich lux- 
uriance. Besides these, even the earth seemed 
covered with the richest plants ; and the most 
beautiful blossoms shed around their aromatic 
fragrance. 

At every step I discovered some new produc- 
tion unknown to Europe, aud every breeze wafted 
a thousand odours. Nor were the birds that filled 



PHANDRA. 327 

the air with their delightful warblings, the insects 
and reptiles that luxuriated among the long grass 
and flowers, less interesting : and I was not more 
pleased with their many-coloured plumage and 
gaily-painted wings, than astonished at their gi- 
gantic size, particularly the common lizard, which 
here measures eighteen inches in length, and were 
it not from its bright green changing from the 
dark hue of the emerald to that of the first leaf 
in spring, you might be inclined to suppose it a 
young crocodile. 

While following the windings of a murmuring 
rivulet, the Phandra, the endless numbers of toads 
and serpents we encountered, crawling in every 
direction in this land of nature, drew from the 
more timid members of our party many a shriek. 
The latter, of a large species, are not considered 
venomous, and a native of the Archipelago or 
Stamboul would have been in raptures at the 
sight of his much-prized dainty, the land tor- 
toise; for we were absolutely obliged to walk 
most cautiously, or we should have crushed them 
at every step. The natives of this part of 
Circassia never use them as food; but in the 
countries I have mentioned they are highly 
valued for their flavour and nutritious qualities, 
and are generally considered to be most efiica- 
cious in pulmonary disorders. 



328 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

We were much disappointed at not meeting 
with Michael Scharavaschedze, chief of the Pso 
tribe, inhabiting the neighbourhood of Bombora, 
who I understood was educated in St. Peters* 
burg, and an officer in the Russian service ; but, 
strange to say, although he has long given in 
his adhesion to the government, yet we were 
told the usual story, that not a single soldier can 
absent himself to any distance from the fort with- 
out danger of being shot or taken prisoner. In 
addition to this, we learned among other things 
that the hostility of the natives was increasing, 
and that the garrison had suffered considerably 
from an attack made by the Circassians some 
months previously, and which had been conducted 
with a fury and an address they had never before 
exhibited. We were also informed, that since 
the strictness of the blockade prevents the people 
from obtaining a sufficient supply of powder, they 
have adopted the expedient of the lasso in cap- 
turing the soldiers of the garrison, who are thus 
led off to the mountains without being able to 
offer any effectual resistance. 

After visiting the fortress, we took a lounge 
through the little town of Bombora, or Lehna, 
as the inhabitants call it, one of the few 
towns built by the Circassians, but displaying 
no feature distinct from those we find on the 



BOMBORA. 329 

opposite coast of the Black Sea in Asia Minor. 
The few bazaars were kept by Armenian and 
Karaite Jew traders, filled with coarse Russian 
manufactures, only remarkable for their gaudy 
colours, together with a few tinsel gew-gaws 
for the use of the peasants, and salt and tobacco. 
In one of these bazaars we met a noble of the 
country, who had just come down from the moun- 
tains to effect some trifling barter : he was com- 
pletely armed, and, as is usual with this people, 
accompanied by his squire. It would appear that 
the natives of this part of Circassia were not in- 
spired with more confidence in Russian faith 
than was exhibited by their compatriots at 
Anapa; for during the whole time the chief 
remained in the town, his squire held a loaded 
pistol in his hand on the cock : no doubt with 
the intention of firing at any one that might 
threaten the safety of his lord. The noble, 
though a fine daring-looking fellow, seeing himself 
surrounded by a crowd of gaily-dressed ofiicei*s 
and fair ladies, was evidently annoyed at being 
the object of so much observation, and, conscious 
perhaps of his hostility to Russia, evinced the 
greatest anxiety to depart ; consequently, when 
his little commercial arrangements were con- 
cluded, he vaulted into his saddle, flew out of 
the town and up the sides of the mountains 



330 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

like lightning, most probably not considering 
himself safe as long as he remained within reach 
of the guns of the fort. 

While lounging about the town, I observed 
several of the natives on horseback ; and though 
the spur is no novel appendage to the boot of 
a cavalier, yet I confess it appeared a singular 
addition to a sandal made from the bark of the 
linden, but more particularly when it was attached 
to the heel of one who wore neither sandal nor 
papooshe^ which was very frequently the case. 
The few women we saw were rather tastefully 
dressed, with long white veils not altogether in- 
tended to conceal the features of the wearer from 
observation, as is usually the case with the follow- 
ers of Islaraism : hence we had an opportunity 
of deciding that they were in general pretty. 

The whole of the men were armed with a 
poniard, a gun, or a sabre ; ihey kept aloof in 
groupes, generally with their arms a-kimbo, and, 
to judge from the expression of their counte- 
nances, seemed to regard us rather with contempt 
than curiosity. Their personal appearance, like 
that of their countrymen in general, was in their 
favour ; but in these, I thought the aquiline nose 
of the Romans predominated. That the Genoese 
here had a settlement cannot be doubted. The 
ruins of the church not only showed that the 



BOMBORA. 331 

architecture was Italian, but in wandering through 
the broken fragments of tombstones, we disco* 

vered one which bore the name of Guisep- . 

I also found in Bombora a piece of marble beau- 
tifully sculptured, with a Roman eagle and the 
characters imp >cm — engraved upon it, which 
renders it highly probable that Imperial Rome 
had here a settlement. 

We purchased from the natives and the Arme- 
nian merchants at Bombora, a number of splendid 
sabres and poniards of the very finest workman- 
ship, and evidently of great antiquity, but so well 
preserved, that they appeared as if they had only 
yesterday left the hands of the armourer : several 
of the blades were engi*aved, or inlaid with gold 
characters. There were also full-length inscrip- 
tions on some of them, surmounted with the head 
of our Saviour, or a saint, which generally ran 
thus, — Parmi Dey y par my Rey. — Ne me tire 
pas sans raisouy et ne me remets pas sans hanneur. 
From the number of weapons found among 
this people of .European fkbrication, and said to 
have belonged to the Crusaders, it is highly pro- 
bable that the natives of the Caucasus were en- 
gaged in war against the Christians : or perhaps 
the soldiers of the cross, having been captured 
by the Turks, escaped from them to the moun- 
tains of the Caucasus ; but being considerably the 



332 VOYAGE ROUND THE BLACK SEA. 

minority in the population, adopted, in process 
of time, the manners, customs, and religion of 
the natives, and finally became amalgamated 
with them. 

This opinion is corroborated by a fact, which I 
give you on the united testimony of several Arme- 
nian merchants who had visited that part of the 
country. It appears that at the base of the Cauca- 
sus a tribe still exists called Khervisour, who 
have preserved among them Christianity to the 
present day, and in manners and customs differ 
entirely from every other, and are not exceeded 
by any in bravery or in their love of independence. 
They are still habited in ancient armour, the 
figure of a cross distinguishes their bucklers, and 
one of red cloth is constantly worn on the breast. 
It is generally supposed, from the similarity of 
their weapons with those of the Normans and 
French of the middle ages, that they are de- 
scended from Gallic ancestors. 

We were also informed by the Armenian mer- 
chants, that in the interior of Abasia, between 
Soubachi and the Alps, a greater number of rem- 
nants of the ancient Christians exist than in any 
other part of Circassia. Several churches are in 
tolerable preservation, and, from the accounts of 
our informants, must have been fine buildings. 
They also assured us that some of them even still 



BOMBORA. 333 

contained the sacred books and ancient armour 
which, according to the traditions of the natives, 
were deposited there by a band of christian 
warriors as votive offerings, in gratitude for their 
deliverance from the infidels. At all events, a 
statement of these particulars may serve to guide 
the research of such future travellers as may be 
disposed to explore this part of the Caucasian 
mountains in pursuit of antiquities. 



1 



336 OBSERVATIONS ON THE RUSSIAN 

upon foreign supplies for provisions ; solitude and 
pestilence are their companions at home, and if 
they seek for amusement from field-sports in the 
beautiful country around, an enemy insidious as 
the tiger lurks about their path. 

Thus, between incessant warfare and pestilence, 
so great is the destruction of human life, that we 
cannot think any other christian power would 
waste the blood of its subjects with such wanton 
prodigality ; for I assure you, the un&vourable 
picture which truth has obliged me to draw of tlie 
Russian settlements in Circassia, so far from be- 
ing overcharged, has been but too faintly 
sketched ; and what, perhaps, is still more ex- 
traordinary, the Russians are not one step nearer 
the accomplishment of their object — the conquest 
of Circassia — than they were at the first com- 
mencement of hostilities on the banks of the 
Kouban fifty years ago. Besides, we must con- 
sider it the very height of bad policy in a govern- 
ment thus to waste the resources of the country 
in an undertaking so little calculated to be pro- 
fitable, or ultimately successful, and which only 
serves as a drain for its soldiers, who might be 
much better employed ; for if ever a country 
could be termed the grave of a people, Circassia 
is that to the soldiers of Russia. 

Previously to setting forth on our coasting ex- 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 337 

pedition round the Black Sea, I heard it very 
generally said in South Russia, that the conquest 
of Circassia was consummated, that the Russian 
flag waved triumphantly over every hill and vale, 
and that it was only necessary for the governor- 
general to present himself, to insure the submis- 
sion of the few hostile chiefs who still obstinately 
refused to give in their allegiance. Hence, we 
expected on our voyage to have witnessed the 
general pacification ; to have beheld humanity 
converting a nation from barbarism to Chris- 
tianity, How different was the reality from the 
anticipation ! No chief waited upon us to tender 
his allegiance, and those who pretended to be 
the allies of Russia were everywhere absent ! In 
short, we found a whole people in arms fighting 
for their independence with indomitable bravery, 
and the Russian garrisons daily diminishing by 
pestilence and the sword. 

With respect to the right of Russia to these 
provinces, I heard the subject repeatedly dis- 
cussed by my Turkish friends at Constantinople, 
whose opinions I will communicate to you in a 
future letter. At present it is merely necessary 
to observe, that the desolating war carried on 
against this unhappy people is incompatible with 
the character for moderation assumed by the Rus- 
sian government, which declares itself to be actu- 

VOL. I. z 



338 OBSERVATIONS ON THE RUSSIAN 

ated in all its diplomatic relations by a desire to 
uphold every government as it exists, with a de- 
termination to ad vance the progress of Christianity 
and civilisation, — ^not by the sword, but by the 
olive-branch. In consonance with this principle, 
Greece was severed from Turkey ; and in conse- 
quence of her cajoling arguments to this effect, 
England and France were induced to coalesce in 
the arrangement; for, according to her own inimi- 
table despatches, ** The whole of Europe de- 
manded the pacification of the Archipelago, the 
cessation of a strife which threatened serious 
danger to the christian world, should the fanatic 
Turk triumph in the downfal of the Greek." 

Assuredly, then, if Russia has no sinister de- 
signs upon the liberties of Turkey and the other 
eastern nations, and if she is, as she pretends to 
be, actuated by a desire to uphold the interests of 
nations, such as she professed to be at the pacifi- 
cation of Greece, let her abandon the present 
contest with the inhabitants of the Caucasus, — a 
contest whose termination is earnestly desired by 
every humane man even in Russia itself, many of 
whose enlightened inhabitants I heard express 
this opinion. Surely the benevolent Nicholas 
and his kind-hearted empress, whose characters 
are represented by their subjects as replete with 
every virtue, cannot but regret the desolating 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 339 

war that is now reducing a whole country to 
misery and ruin. 

Must we not think, if Russia were to adopt 
another line of policy, if she were to denounce 
every idea of conquest, and follow the example 
of the Turks by forming with the independent 
tribes of the Caucasus commercial treaties, 
much might be done towards promoting their 
civilisation ? And how easy would it be for her 
to colonise these half-deserted countries, — coun- 
tries fertile to exuberance, with the superabun- 
dant population of Europe. Strabo tells us, that 
in his day the province of Mingrelia alone was 
so populous, as to be able to furnish two hundred 
thousand native soldiers; whereas the inhabitants 
of Mingrelia, Gurial, and Immeretia^ in the 
present day, do not amount to half the number. 
From another ancient writer we learn, that it 
was the nursery of the great Mithridates, king 
of Pontus, where he not only recruited his army 
with its bravest soldiers, but found a never-end- 
ing supply of the finest timber for shipbuilding 
in its splendid forests ; and during the time 
imperial Rome occupied this most fertile pro- 
vince, such was the richness of the soil^ that it 
produced four crops annually* 

In enumerating the advantages that might be 
derived frpm these countries to Russia, it is not 

z 2 



340 OBSERVATIONS ON THE RUSSIAN 

easy to explain why that power, who we kuow is 
ever anxious to increase its resources and popu- 
lation, does not encourage the industrious inha- 
bitants of Europe to settle here, by assigning them 
grants of land ; for most certain it is, if these fine 
provinces were denuded of their immense forests, 
and the soil properly cultivated, the profit to the 
agriculturist would be immense. It cannot be 
that they are not salubrious, for, with the excep- 
tion of a small portion on the coast of Mingrelia 
and Guriali there are no marshes to be found in 
the whole country ; and most of the rivers, which 
are partially stagnant from their mouths being 
filled up by the accumulation of ages, might easily 
be rendered navigable, — thereby adding to the 
health and beauty of the country. A great part 
of Immeretia and Georgia, that join Mingrelia 
and Gurial, cannot be exceeded in fertility 
and salubrity. And as the whole of these 
provinces are subject, since the treaty of Adrian- 
ople, to the uncontrolled rule of Russia, would 
it not be infinitely more advantageous to her in- 
terests to leave the Circassians at present their 
wild independence ; and, instead of maintaining 
in their country expensive garrisons, to improve 
her own provinces ? Would it not also be pre- 
ferable to bestow on them a portion of the cost 
and labour lavished on the unimprovable wood- 
less steppes of Krim-Tartary ? 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 341 

Yet siogular to say, for some reason I am 
unable to fathom, the Russian government 
appears wholly regardless of the welfare of 
its possessions on this part of the Black Sea. 
It cannot be that they will not repay culti* 
vation : the soil is not only adapted to the 
growth of every species of grain, but cotton, 
tobacco, and indigo. The vine is indigenous ; 
all the fruits of the most favoured climes in 
Europe are found wild in the woods ; and to 
show their value as pasture-lands, the grass 
attains a luxuriance totally unknown in Europe. 

In fact, the plan that Russia ought to adopt for 
the purpose of placing these countries once more 
in the position nature designed them to occupy, 
is colonisation ; and if we would seek for a prac- 
tical exemplification of the descripticm of coloni- 
sation peculiarly adapted to these provinces, we 
have only to refer to the ver sacrum of ancient 
Greece. This system would be still more appli- 
cable to the Circassians, who, jealous of their 
liberty, regard with suspicion every attempt made 
by foreigners to acquire settlements among them. 

But the plan of colonisation to which I have 
alluded, was founded neither in usurpation nor 
injustice, being based solely on commercial pur- 
suits, and the mutual interests of nations. To 
this the southern countries of Europe, and part 



342 OBSERVATIONS ON THE RUSSIAN 

of Asia, owe their civilisation ; for Greece at that 
time was suffering from a superabundant popula- 
tion, invariably the case when a country attains 
a high state of civilisation ; and so pressing had 
the evil become, that the citizens of the highest 
rank, the most distinguished among their coun- 
trymen for talents, virtue, and courage, put 
themselves at the head of the youth, and, full of 
ardour and vigour, founded towns and countries, 
even in the midst of savages, on the Mediterra- 
nean, the Adriatic, and the Black Sea. 

Several of these heroes of ancient Greece were 
celebrated by Homer and other writers ; and 
there cannot be a doubt that the famous expedi- 
tion of Jason was undertaken for the same pur- 
pose, as in every country on the Black Sea we 
are perpetually reminded of him and his follow- 
ers. In the Colchideus a plain still bears the 
name of* Argo, the son of Phryxus ; and the 
temple of Seucoth was built by Jason himself, 
who also founded Idessa, a town in Georgia. 
Sinope, in Anadolia, was built by Argo ; and the 
once-famous Dioscurias owes its origin to the 
followers of Castor and Pollux. There is, even 
to this day, a cape on the Anadolian coast called 
after Jason. 

Tacitus tells us that Jason performed a second 
voyage to the Black Sea, when he gave laws to 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 343 

his followers, and founded new colonies on the 
banks of the Phase and the Khopi. In short, 
nearly the whole of the population on the shores 
of the Caspian Sea, the Iberians and Albanians, 
together with the greater number of the inhabi- 
tants of Lazestahn and Armenia, still proudly 
retain the tradition of being descended from the 
noble followers of that great hero and navigator. 
And assuredly, if no other proofs existed than 
fine features and symmetrical proportions, might 
we not deem these suflScient to prove their noble 
origin ? The correctness or fallacy of this opinion 
will, however, be established when the countries 
of the Caucasus are better known, abounding, as 
it is said they do, with the medals and ruins of 
ancient Greece. 

In truth, it is impossible that countries possess- 
ing such natural advantages, whether we regard 
situation, climate, or productions, should continue 
for any lengthened period in their present be- 
nighted state. Commerce and steam navigation, 
encouraged by the leading powers of Europe in 
their desire to maintain peace, will effect in a few 
years an entire revolution in the manners, opi- 
nions, and customs of the inhabitants of these 
countries; and this in opposition to the short- 
sighted policy of Russia, who desires to shroud 
them in obscurity. 



344 OBSERVATIONS OK THE RUSSIAN 

This is no visionary expectation. Do we not 
already see countHes, scarcely known to our 
fathers even by name, now visited by the ships of 
civilised Europe, even to the icy regions of the 
north ? and travellers, regardless of personal dan- 
ger or inconveniences, traversing the most remote 
regions, disseminating knowledge, and improving 
the character and condition of the inhabitants ? 

But to return to our subject of colonisation. 
Every consideration, whether of humanity or just 
policy, that I can urge to induce the Russian 
government to turn aside the devastating sword 
. from the humble hearths of the mountaineers of 
the Caucasus, will, alas ! I am afraid, be ineffec- 
tual. No ; if I were possessed of the eloquence 
of Demosthenes, it would avail nothing. Con- 
quest! dominion I is, unhappily for their less 
powerful neighbours, the actuating principle of the 
government, and the majority of the Russian 
nobility. Already, in anticipation of the conquest 
of Circassia, have the most beautiful, the most 
picturesque sites on the coast been pointed out 
for the erection of ch&teaux and palaces ; and vain 
would it be to search in Russia for such a man 
as the disinterested, the noble-minded Jason, to 
put himself at the head of a band of colonists, 
whose aim would not be so much profit, as the 
moral and intellectual improvement of the people. 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 345 

Without 'entering into the question as to the 
justice or injustice of the conquests of Russia, 
and their ultimate influence upon the liberties of 
Europe, it must be confessed that they are, so 
far as regards Asia, followed by the advancement 
of civilisation and the march of intellect !— the 
people are taught to read, write, pray, obey the 
emperor as their sovereign lord, and to regard 
with the most submissive reverence their supe- 
riors in rank — all admirable in their way* But 
I doubt much if civilisation, as introduced by 
Russia, would tend to make a spirited people 
like the Circassians, who regard independence 
as the greatest of all earthly blessings, happier ; 
for, besides a thousand imaginary wants that 
would then spring into existence, and of which 
they are now happily ignorant, accursed gold, 
with all its train of evils, would corrupt their 
morals and poison their contentment. Thousands 
of needy adventurers, armed with the knout, 
would overrun the land, and sever for ever the 
tie that has bound, from time immemorial, the 
clansman to his lord. Then this high-spirited 
people, whose extraordinary bravery has been 
the admiration of ages, would be reduced to 
abject slavery, and their very name, existence, 
and country merged in that of their conqueror : 
while, to the romantic, the poetic mind, the fall 



346 OBSERVATIONS ON THE RUSSIAN 

of Circassia would be irreparable, and the world 
would never again witness the haughty chieftain 
in his coat of mail, marching at the head of his 
clansmen to victory or death, nor the noble dame, 
or heroic sister, rejoicing in the death of the be- 
loved husband, son, or brother, who died in de- 
fending the liberties of his country. 

It was, indeed, the intention of his excellency 
the governor-general, ever anxious to ad- 
vance the interests of his sovereign, to establish 
a colony of Swiss mountaineers, either at Soud- 
jouk-Kale, or Ghelendjik, for which purpose he 
was attended during the expedition by a gentle- 
man from Switzerland; but such was the 
unceasing hostility evinced by the natives 
against every measure emanating from Russia, 
that to contemplate any such plan in Circassia 
at the present moment would be impossible ; for 
along the whole line of coast from Kouban-Tar- 
tary to the port of Anakria in Mingrelia, the 
Russian government does not possess a foot of 
land, with the exception of the forts^ or rather 
mud entrenchments we visited, and these are 
constantly besieged by the indefatigable moun- 
taineers. 

Thus the amelioration of the half*civilised 
inhabitants of the Caucasus, their advancement 
in knowledge and all the humanising arts of 



SETTLEMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS. 347 

social life, which would be the result if commerce 
and a proper system of colonisation were intro- 
duced by the enlightened inhabitants of Western 
Europe, are sacrificed to the self-aggrandisement 
of a power whose limits know no bounds, and 
to extend which, she is ever ready to trample 
upon the rights of every nation too feeble to 
resist the force of her arms, and to pay, as the 
price of her conquests, the lives of her subjects 
and the wealth of her treasury. 

Never was I more fully convinced of the truth 
of this, than by the spectacle presented during 
our excursions on the Circassian coast. And 
how much is it to be lamented that Russia, as 
a christian power, now that the Turks, with their 
ignorance, fanaticism, and superstition, have 
been expelled from these beautiful but benighted 
provinces, has not adopted a more conciliatory 
line of policy with the natives, instead of inflict- 
ing upon them all the horrors of war — a 
policy which would not only tend to civilise, but 
to instruct them in the truths of Christianity. 



TARTAB PEASANTS. 

LETTEE XXXII. 

KKTURM TO THR CRIMEA— BNOUBH BESIDENT^^DRPAR- 
TUBE FOR THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIH-TARTABY^ 

ASCENT OP THE AI-PBTRI SCENERY SINGCLAB STEPPE 

ON THE SUMMIT OP THB MOUNTAIN — PBBILOUS DESCENT 
— HOSPITABLE BECBPTION AT THB HODSB OP A MOCBZA 

— ASPECT OF THE INHABITANTS TARTAR VILLAOB^— OB- 

NBRAL CHARACTER OP THE COD NT BY— TENDENCY OP 
MAHOMETAN ISM. 

We now bade adieu to the Caucasus, steeriog 
with a fair wind for the Crimea, where we 
arrived, after a delightful voyage of a few days, 
and landed at Yalta, some wersts distant from 
the country-seat of Count Worrenzow, to which 
we immediately proceeded. 



RETURN TO THE CRIMEA. 349 

Thus terminated my coasting tour, which, so 
far as regarded the Circassians, had produced no 
other effect than to stimulate my curiosity ; and 
this I was determined to gratify at all hazards, 
as soon as I had discovered the most practicable 
method of penetrating into the interior of the 
country. In the interim, I purposed availing 
myself of the opportunity 1 possessed to explore 
some portion of the ancient dominions of the 
Khans of Krim-Tartary. 

The south coast of this peninsula, with its 
valleys, mountains, and romantic scenery, is not 
inappropriately termed the Switzerland of Rus* 
sia ; and, during summer, is generally filled with 
Russian travellers of distinction, who this year 
had come, in greater numbers than usual, to 
learn from the governor-general the details of 
his interesting voyage : in consequence of which, 
the ch&teau of his excellency became the scene 
of a series of splendid entertainments : the ves- 
sels of war that accompanied us lay at anchor in 
the bay of Aloupka : the officers were the daily 
guests of the count, and the midshipmen those 
of his son, a fine yotith of fourteen. 

As the details of our host's hospitable festi- 
vities cannot prove interesting to you, I shall 
forbear giving them, especially as my taste for 
retirement and solitary rambles rendered me, for 



360 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

the most part, an absentee from their gaieties. I 
spent my time principally in ascending the lofty 
hills, exploring the secluded valleys, and visiting 
the peaceful cots of the kind Tartars. I was 
also fortunate in meeting several of my country- 
men ; for his excellency, being well aware of 
their superior intelligence and industry, employs 
them in preference to the natives of any other 
country. His own splendid chateau at Aloupka, 
designed by Mr. Blore of London, and erecting 
under the able superintendence of Mr. Hunt, 
will remain a lasting monument of English taste. 
His steward and homme (Taffaires is Mr. Jack- 
son ; his most trusted physician, Dr. Prout ; the 
governess of his only daughter, Mrs. Amet ; to 
Mr. Upton, an English engineer, he has dele- 
gated the construction of the Admiralty docks 
at Sebastopol ; and, through his recommendation, 
the laying out of the magnificent park and plea- 
sure-ground belonging to the emperor at Ori- 
anda has been confided to Mr. Ross, a native 
of Scotland . 

In every person he has selected. Count W. 
has been most fortunate ; and, whether we con- 
sider their superior talents or exemplary con- 
duct, they are worthy of their country. During 
my rambles through the Crimea, I was alter- 
nately the guest of each ; so that I do not 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIM-TARTARY. 361 

depend merely upon rumour for my testimony 
in their favour. In the society of the intel- 
lectual and excellent Dr. Prout, I possessed a 
never-failing resource : and I shall ever remem- 
ber with pleasure the days I spent with him and 
his amiable family at their pretty little villa at 
Marsanda, and the agreeable rides and prome- 
nades we made together through the beautiful 
scenery in the neighbourhood. 

To the accounts of my countrymen I am in- 
debted for many interesting details of the Cri- 
mea and its inhabitants, — details which it would 
have been impossible for me to acquire, if left to 
my own unassisted resources. But, above all, I 
have to thank the governor-general for the va- 
rious facilities he placed at my disposal for the 
prosecution of my journey. I was presented 
with a firman in the Tartar language, which 
would insure horses and other conveniences 
during my route. My kind host also permitted 
one of his aides-de-camp, Count Galateri, to ac- 
company me, together with his dragoman, M. 
Courlanzoff, a talented young Russian, who had 
recently returned from China. 

Our first excursion to the interior of the 
country lay through Bagtche-Serai, the ancient 
capital of Krim-Tartary ; but, as we had to cross 
one of the lesser peaks of the stupendous moun- 



362 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

tain, Ai-Petri, without road, or, indeed, any in* 
dication whatever to aid the traveller, we pro- 
vided ourselves with a Tartar guide and Tartar 
horses, the only animals who, from the force of 
habit, can be depended upon in climbing up 
these perilous rocks, and descending the steep 
declivities. 

On leaving the pretty village of Aloupka, the 
country gradually ascended, becoming at every 
step more wildly romantic : after climbing up a 
precipitous alpine pass, through rocks, tangled 
brushwood, and trees, we at length attained the 
dizzy heights above the sea. Being now at a 
very considerable elevation, we enjoyed a most 
extensive prospect, comprising some of the boldest 
scenery in the peninsula : to the right and left 
we had rocks upon rocks, of stupendous magni- 
tude, — their craggy summits piercing the blue 
ether, here projecting in vast promontories, there 
receding, and forming numerous bays, — and be- 
fore us the boundless expanse of the Euxine. 

The view, indeed, embraced a vast horizon ; 
yet, I think, I never beheld a mountain panorama 
less varied in its features, nor one in which the 
eye becomes sooner weary. This is owing to 
the rocks being nearly similar in form, and 
almost destitute of vegetation, and to the short 
space intervening between them and the sea ; 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIM-TARTARY. 363 

consequently, the whole of the beautiful scenery 
along the coast (which, for fertility and rural 
beauty, cannot be too much admired) becomes 
in great part lost, or so diminished in size as to 
be scarcely visible, leaving no other objects to 
fill up the picture than rocks and water. 

Hence the disappointment of many travellers 
who have ascended these stupendous peaks, with 
the expectation of being rewarded by a splendid 
prospect. In short, it is only while wandering 
on the south coast, where we find luxuriant 
groves of wild mulberries, pomegranates, pears, 
figs, laurels, &c., or through its sequestered 
valleys, with their interesting rural Tartar popu- 
lation, that we are awakened to admiration and 
pleasure. 

On descending about a hundred paces from 
the rock, we arrived at a mountain plateau, 
about four wersts in length,— a perfect steppe, 
entirely destitute of foliage, or any other object 
to relieve the dreary monotony of this solitary 
wilderness. From thence we commenced a most 
terrific descent, through a dense forest of stunted 
oaks and pines ; and neither road nor path pre- 
senting itself, our guide seemed to follow the 
bed of a dried-up waterfall, for the round loose 
stones kept continually rolling beneath our 
horses' feet. Dreadful precipices yawned at 

VOL. I. A A 



364 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

every angle, so that one false step would have 
been sufficient to involve riders and horses in 
irretrievable destruction. 

I attempted to descend by the assistance of 
my own supporters, but soon found it impossible 
to maintain my footing : then, as a last resource, 
I committed my safety to the noble animal that 
carried me, threw the bridle over his neck, and 
left him completely to his own guidance. Some- 
times, in spite of the sagacious care with which 
he stepped, the stones gave way, and he slid 
down several yards, until he perceived the root 
of a tree, or a large stone, against which he 
never failed to plant his foot, for the purpose 
of recovering his equilibrium. The instinctive 
intelligence he exhibited to avoid falling, was 
really admirable ; and we actually arrived, after 
a ride of four hours, without the slightest acci- 
dent, at the base of the mountain. Sometimes, 
indeed, one or other of our party, — particularly 
Mr. Richter, an artist from Dresden, who joined 
us on the road, — not having been accustomed to 
such neck-breaking equestrianism, was more than 
once caught in the boughs of the almost im- 
penetrable thickets entwined above our heads, 
where he hung suspended between earth and 
heaven, like the Prince of Israel; but, instead 
of being pierced with a spear, he was greeted by 
his comrades with loud peals of laughter. 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRiM-TARTARY. 355 

The shades of night had just set in as we 
arrived at a considerable Tartar village, called 
Kokkos, where we were most hospitably enter- 
tained by a rich mourza, who slew a young kid 
for the occasion, and treated us, in addition, with 
several other Eastern delicacies. There were the 
never*failing pilaff, the chichlik and kefti, toge- 
ther with tarts and preserved fruits of various 
kinds. Our beds were also those common to 
the children of the East — mattresses laid on the 
floor, with cushions and coverlets. The next 
morning, at day-break, our coffee and tchi- 
bouques were ready ; and, after making another 
hearty meal, we recommenced our journey, not 
a little gratified with the kind reception of our 
hospitable host^ and also with the extreme 
cleanliness of every object with which we came 
in contact. 

Our route lay through a fertile valley, watered 
by the Kabarda,''^ a considerable stream ; the road 



* The name of an extensive proyince in Circassia. This 
is a proof, among many others, that the Crimea at some 
former period acknowledged the soyereigntj of the Circassian 
chieftains, since many of its forts, rivers, ancient buildings 
and districts, are called by names of Circassian origin. Pallas, 
the historian of the Crimea, considers the fact sufficiently 
established, and the writer of these pages has alluded to the 
subject at greater length in his late work entitled " Travels 

A A 2 



356 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

was tolerable, and the scenery, if not beautifully 
picturesque, at least novel, which epithet was 
also applicable in an especial degree to the cos- 
tume and manners of the inhabitants. The 
rocks which skirted the valley, jutting up per- 
pendicularly, and of an equal height, formed a 
perfect natural fortification ; appearing in one 
place, as if chiselled by the hand of man, and in 
another resembling piles of gigantic books laid 
on the shelves of a library. The fields were 
filled with men, women, and children, either 
reaping the corn or engaged in some other agri- 
cultural pursuit. Here we saw the mouUah, with 
his snow-white turban; the mourza, in his 
braided coat and cap ; together with the peasant, 
attired in his light jacket, wide trousers, fur cap, 
and sandals. In the distance might be seen the 
shepherd, with his long crook, seated on a cliff, 
surrounded by his bleating flock, and extracting 
most doleful melody from his pipe. 

Then the women were certainly striking ob- 
jects, wrapped completely in the ample drapery 
of the white ferredgSj which gave them not only 
a graceful but a coquettish air. Sometimes a 
youthful dame condescended to present us with 
a glimpse of her gazelle eye ; but, finding she 

in the Western Caucasus/' when tracing the derivation of 
the Circassian race. 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIM-TARTARY. 357 

was observed, again imprisoned her pretty cap- 
tives behind the folds of her veil. Camels loaded 
with heavy packages, and looking most serious 
and important, silently and slowly paced along 
the road ; and that music might not be wanting^ 
we were continually greeted with that most in- 
harmonious of all sounds, the creaking of the 
Tartar wagons : these, being made entirely of 
wood, and never greased, formed, when pro- 
ceeding in trains, a concert of discords which no 
traveller whose ears have sustained the shock 
will ever forget. 

The appearance of the Tartar villages at a 
distance is very singular, having much the effect 
of rabbit-holes. This you will readily believe, 
when I say that they are generally built on the 
brow of a hill, or burrowed into its side ; and, 
owing to the circumstance that they consist only 
of one story, with a single facade, their flat roofs 
being level with the earth above, I more than 
once found myself walking on the top of a range 
of houses, without perceiving my error. 

The interior of these odd-looking dwellings 
was correspondingly original. Here sat the men 
and women, in true Asiatic style, on the floor, 
smoking their long pipes ; or, by way of cool 
variety, on the house-tops, or beneath the little 
verandas, to catch the few breezes as they passed. 



358 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

The children, with their hair, eyebrows, and 
finger-nails dyed red according to the most 
approved notions of Tartar beauty, were play- 
ing about without any clothing to impede the 
freedom of their movements ; their little heads 
often decorated with a profusion of coins, and 
various amulets to preserve them from sorcery 
and the evil eye. 

Rich Karaite Jews, and Armenians in their 
peculiarly splendid costume, ambled along on 
their well-fed mules : these were diversified by 
considerable numbers of Swabian colonists, in 
precisely the same close cap, short petticoats 
of many folds, red stockings, and high-heeled 
shoes, that we find in Swabia in the present 
day. Neither must I forget to insert in my cata- 
logue the gipsies, who, unhappily for the 
Crimea, are too numerous. They are the mu- 
sicians, showmen, professors of great and petty 
larceny ; in short, the worst part of the popu- 
lation. 

Several of the villages through which we 
passed were exceedingly rural : a running stream 
was almost invariably the accompaniment ; for 
water, in this parched country, for the purpose of 
irrigation, is indeed a blessing. Oak, beech, wild- 
pear, cherry, and crab trees, lined the sides of the 
cliflSs, springing out of every fissure in the rocks ; 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIM-TARTARY. 359 

and the valley itself teemed with orchards, green 
meadows and corn-fields, occasionally inter- 
spersed with the mulberry, fig, pomegranate, 
apricot, poplar, and walnut trees, whose luxuriant 
foliage not only formed beautiful and fragrant 
canopies, and protected us from the scQrching 
rays of the sun, but imparted to the little cots a 
pleasing appearance of great fertility. The 
walnutrtree is very popular with the Tartars; 
for as it grows here to an enormous size, we 
everywhere find it throwing the broad shade of 
its wide-spreading foliage over their humble 
abodes. 

As the Tartars profess Mahometanism, each 
village is adorned with its pretty mosque. How 
often do I recal to memory the sound of the 
moullah^s voice issuing from the summit of the 
unpretending minaret, bidding the faithful to 
prayer ! and, though we cannot subscribe to the 
veracity of their faith, yet true devotion, whe- 
ther exhibited by Christian or Moslem, must 
always, we trust, be acceptable to a just and 
merciful God ; and I do not believe that the 
piety of any people upon the face of the earth 
is more sincere than that of the Tartars. We 
have the authority of Paley for believing, that 
'' the man who is in earnest about religion 
cannot be a bad man/' At all events, the 



360 JOURNEY FROM YALTA TO THE 

• 

truth of this observation is exemplified in the 
character of this people ; for they are at once 
unsophisticated, kind-hearted, hospitable, and, 
above all, strictly honest. Indeed, the simpli- 
city of the forms of the Mahometan religion 
renders them peculiarly well adapted to the 
habits of a quiet pastoral people like the Tartars, 
and every attempt hitherto made by Russian 
missionaries to convert them to Christianity, 
has proved abortive. 

However, this failure is, in some degree, to be 
attributed to their implacable hatred of the Rus- 
sians ; and as the creed of Islamism does not 
inculcate mercy and forgiveness, this feeling is 
very likely to be perpetuated from generation to 
generation. Nor can we be surprised at such an 
inveterate, enduring animosity, when we hear 
the details of the cruelties, rapine, and barba- 
rities that were perpetrated upon this unhappy 
people by that most unprincipled adventurer 
Potemkin and his iniquitous agents ; individual 
instances of which were related to me, both by 
foreigners and natives, with as much vivacity 
and freshness of colouring as if they had only 
happened yesterday. Should you feel desirous 
of perusing a lengthened catalogue of these atro- 
cities, I would recommend to your notice the 
life of Catherine II. by T. Castera, said to be 



ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KRIM-TARTART. 361 

the most correct and unprejudiced of any that 
exists, and which was written in reply to the 
misrepresentations of Voltaire, who, it is notorious, 
preferred Russian gold to truth. 



362 BAOTCHE-SERAI. 



LETTER XXXIII. 

■ 

BAGTCHB-SBRAI AS IT IS— PALACB OF THE KHANS — 
SINGULAR ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS — WANTON BARBARITY 
OF THB RUSSIANS — BNVIR0N8 — iGIPSY VILLAGB — INHA- 
BITANTS — ANCIBNT CHURCH AND CONVENT — VISIT TO 

THE JEWISH FORTRESS TSCHOUFOUT-KALB — CEMETERY 

NOTICE ON THE RELIGION OF THE KARAITE JEWS, 

The country declined much in fertility and 
beauty, on approaching the capital ; and we 
now first entered upon the tiresome uniformity 
of the steppes of the Crimea. It was very thinly 
inhabited, and, owing to the entire absence of 
foliage, we suffered severely from the heat of 
the sun, which obliged us to rest during the 
middle of the day at the house of a mourza 
(nobleman) situated a few miles distant from 
Bagtche-Serai, where we remained till late in 
the evening. Having no better employment, I 
occupied myself in sketching his farmyard, 
though, truth to say, its chief merit consisted in 
being highly characteristic of the simple habits 
of that patriarchal people, the Tartars. Soon 



4 I 



BA6TCHE-SERAI. 363 

after resuming our journey, we commenced 
descending the valley in which Bagtche-Serai is 
built ; and, notwithstanding it has lost the whole 
of its 'magnificence, and not more than one 
third of the town had escaped the devastations 
of the Russians, yet enough still remains to 
render this residence of the Khans of Tartary 
highly interesting — more especially as it is the 
only town in the Crimea to which Catherine II* 
conceded the privilege of being exclusively in- 
habited by a Tartar population : consequently 
we here find the national character preserved 
in its purity. 

The situation is highly romantic, being built 
partly on the banks of the Djourouk-Sou, and 
partly on the craggy sides of two steep rocky 
mountains which enclose the valley. The as- 
pect of the buildings, the manners, customs, 
and costumes of the inhabitants, are strictly 
Oriental. There are bazaars, mosques, with their 
minarets, chiosks, and cemeteries, groves of 
cypresses and black poplars, terraced gardens 
and vineyards, that appear to hang in air ; and, 
more than proud Stamboul can boast, the eye is 
everywhere delighted by the aspect of its bub- 
bling fountains and ever-running crystal springs. 
The streets, in accordance with the custom of 
the East, are narrow and badly paved ; and that 



364 BAGTCHE-SERAI. 

running through the centre of the town is at 
least a werst in length. Here we see every trade 
and handicraft, from that of a builder to a pin- 
maker, exercised in public by the industrious 
inhabitants : even the usual domestic occupations 
are carried on in the streets ; and this town being 
the grand depot for the sale of the (ruitSi tobacco, 
flax, and com of the surrounding country, I often 
found my passage through the narrow streets 
completely blocked up by pyramids of some of 
these articles. 

We took up our abode at the palace of the 
Khans, the most splendid and interesting Tartar 
building in the Crimea. The Russian govern- 
ment, in making the necessary repairs, had the 
good taste to preserve its original character, even 
to the colour of the painting, paper, &c. The 
furniture, which is not yet entirely completed, is, 
I understand, also to retain its original forms. 
Here we have the seraglio, with its gardens and 
baths, the turreted chiosk, the elegant mosque, 
the hall of audience, with its latticed gallery, 
where the favourite dames of the Khan were 
allowed, unseen, to contemplate the brillant as- 
semblage of nobles, warriors, and senators be- 
neath. In short, here you have everything as 
it existed in the days of the last Khan, the 
heroic Selim Guerai, except inhabitants : these 



BAOTCHE-SERAI. 365 

the imagination must supply : for now all is 
silent — silent as the grave ! No footstep 
echoes through its lofty gilded halls, save that of 
the keeper ; no mouUah, from the graceful mi- 
naret, calls the faithful to prayer ; no fair captive 
now sighs for liberty within the ramparts of a 
seraglio prison. 

The palace, mosque, and fountains, abound with 
inscriptions in the Arabian language, the greater 
part extracted from the Kor&n ; while others 
inform us of the name and rank of the Khan 
who erected this particular part of the building, 
mosque, or fountain. I shall merely trouble you 
with a translation of one or two, which will 
amuse you, and, at the same time, give a cor- 
rect idea of the singular idioms of the lan- 
guage. Not altogether depending upon my own 
knowledge of Arabic, I was indebted to my com- 
panion, M. CourlanszofF, who is an accomplished 
Arabic scholar, for the following. We shall com- 
mence with the inscription over the great gate 
of the palace : 

" This magnificent gate was constructed by the command 
of the illustrious Sovereign of two seas and two empires, 
Khadgi Gu6rai Khan ! son of Mengli-Guerai Khan Sultan, 
son of a Sultan I Anno 959." 

Above the principal entrance of the royal 
mosque of the Khans we have the following : 



366 B AOTCH£-S£RAI . 

<< Who was Khadji-Selim ? The most illustrious of all 
the Khans of Krim-Tartary. The hero by God's divine 
power I May the Almighty God, in his supreme kindness^ 
recompense him for the erection of this mosque !*' 

" Selim Gu^rai Khan, the son of his love, is a rose ! 
Each rose descended from him sat in his turn on the throne, 
and was crowned with honours in the seraglio I The rose, 
now in full bearing, has become the Padischah, the lion of 
the Crimea, Schlamet Gu^rai Khan I In this, God hath 
fulfilled my desire. It is alone to the honour of the Almighty 
Supreme that this mosque has been completed by Schlamet 
Guerai Khan ! Anno 1 153." 

From several sentences of the Koran on the 
windows of the interior of the mosque, I have 
selected the following : — 

<< Oh, great Prophet I through thy divine inspiration the 
whole earth has been enlightened." 

The fountains, constructed with great beauty 
and elegance, have also their separate inscrip- 
tions. Over that called Selsebil is placed 

<< Glory to God most Omnipotent I*' 

^' Rejoice I rejoice I Bagtche-Serai I For the enlightened 
Krim Guerai Khan, ever benevolent, and solicitous for your 
welfare, discovered this excellent spring of the purest water : 
and thus, through his own generous and munificent hand, 
satisfied the thirst of his children. He is, moreover, ever 
ready, aided by the inspiration of Almighty God, to render 
you still greater benefits V* 

<<If there exist such another fountain in the universe, 
let it be found I The magnificent towns of Scham and 



BAGTCHE-SERAI. 367 

Bagdad have assuredly seen many glorious things; but 
they never witnessed so magnificent a fountain I 

^ Chegi, the author of this inscription, like a man tormented 
with thirst, traced the lines upon this most beautiful of all 
fountains, in such a position that they cannot be read except 
through its crystal stream, which descends through pip^ 
fine as the fingers of a lady's hand. What does this indicate ? 
— an invitation to drink of this pure transparent water, 
gushing from its unfailing source, and which insures health I 
Anno 1170;* 

The architecture of the palace, mosques, and 
public buildings of the town, is neither imposing 
nor splendid, being mefely interesting from its 
novelty ; but you cannot imagine a prettier pic* 
ture than the town exhibits when seen from the 
surrounding heights. The suburbs extend far 
and wide, intermingled with villas, chiosks, gar- 
dens, and water-mills ; while the number of 
mosques, with their domes and minarets, and the 
forest of small towers, (for every chimney is built 
in this form,) all contribute their aid to increase 
the beauty and variety of the general effect. 

Bagtche-Serai, which literally means a palace 
in a garden, still contains thirty-two mosques, 
besides two or three Tartar universities, and 
several extensive khans for the accommodation 
of travellers. If we are to credit the ac- 
counts of the inhabitants, while lamenting over 
the ruins of their once splendid capital, it must, 



368 EXCURSION TO TCHOUFOUT-KALI. 

in truth, have been a most magnificent city 
before the conquest of the Crimea by the gene* 
rals of Catherine. In taking possession of the 
ill-fated town, the wanton barbarity and atrocity 
q{ the conquerors almost exceed belief ; for, 
besides pillaging the inhabitants, the very tombs 
were violated in search of treasures, and whole 
streets demolished, merely through an insane 
passion for destruction. 

One of the most beautiful country-seats of the 
khans in the environs, which^ it appears, was a 
perfect miracle of ingenuity and neatness, was 
entirely erased from the earth. But the most 
singular chapter in the history, and which 
Clarke confirms in his Travels through the 
Crimea, is, that one populous suburb, inhabited 
by a colony of Greeks, containing upwards of 
six hundred houses, was totally destroyed, not- 
withstanding the victims were their own co- 
religionists. 

With such sources of wealth at his command, 
we cannot feel surprised at the lavish expenditure 
of Potemkin, nor at the multitude of tempo- 
rary palaces he erected for the gratification of 
his august mistress, when she most graciously 
condescended to visit her newly conquered sub^ 
jects. It is to be hoped, nay, we will charitably 
feel assured, that Russia, in her next conquest, 



GIPSY VILLAGE. 369 

Will be actuated by feelings of humanity consonant 
with the enlightened age in which we live. 

The environs afford a variety of agreeable 
excursions : the most interesting is that to 
Tchoufout-Kali, of which we speedily availed 
ourselves. We journeyed through a steep de- 
file, along the banks of the roaring Djourouk- 
sou. The road, or at least what by courtesy 
is so termed, fatigued our horses excessively, 
owing to its being composed of round slippery 
stones, worn smooth by the action of the waters ; 
and the gigantic rocks, without the slightest 
foliage, by attracting the sun, rendered the 
heat of the atmosphere almost insupportable. 

After advancing some little way through the de- 
file, our attention was attracted by a tremendous 
uproar ; and, on turning a curve of the road, we 
came at once upon a gipsy village, presenting a 
scene not easily paralleled. Bears were bel- 
lowing, monkeys and children screaming, dogs 
barking, drums beating, pipers playing, women 
scolding, men fighting, and smiths and tinkers 
hammering, — altogether forming a charivari 
which, fortunately for men's ears, does not often 
assail them. Nor was the appearance of these 
people less remarkable than their noise : the ma- 
jority of the children were entirely naked ; and 
their parents nearly so, having no covering but a 

VOL. I. B B 



370 EXCURSION TO TCHOUFOUT-KALI. 

pair of wide trousers ; those of the women differ- 
ing but little in form and colour from those of the 
men. The whole, whether basking in the sun 
or at work, were incessantly smoking from little 
short pipes made of boxwood. In short, they 
exhibited a picture of human degradation and 
misery, such as 1 have not often witnessed, even 
among the most savage tribes. Their dwellings 
consisted merely of scattered tents, and holes bur- 
rowed into the sides of the soft limestone rocks 
that towered above them. Their habits appeared 
filthy in the extreme ; for, besides the stench 
arising from the numerous animals with which 
they lived in common, the immense volumes of 
tobacco smoke, and the smell of onions and 
garlic, formed an odour altogether so unsa- 
voury, that we heartily wished ourselves out of 
its vicinity. 

On hearing the sound of our horses, the 
whole motley multitude started on their legs, 
and rushed towards us ; when pipei*s, drum- 
mers, fiddlers, dancing-dogs and bears, tumbling- 
monkeys and naked children, young fortune- 
tellers and old witches, all performed before 
us in their respective characters. A handful 
of kopecks, for which they most reverently 
kissed the hem of our garments and wished 
us a happy journey, delivered us from their 
importunities. 



MMU 



MONASTERY OP THE ANCIENT CHRISTIANS. 371 

In the midst of all this wretchedness, I could 
not help remarking the well-formed proportions 
of the men — their fiery eyes and animated 
countenances. Nor were the fine features of the 
women, the large, full, dark eye, and jet black 
hair hanging down in natural curls on their 
shoulders, less admirable ; and although, from 
continual exposure to the weather, they were 
nearly as dark as Indians, yet those still young 
were really beautiful. But this distinction does 
not long characterise the women of the East, 
particularly this migratory people ; for those 
more advanced in life were the veriest personifi- 
cation of what you might imagine witches to be, 
— haggard, withered, and wrinkled. 

Soon after leaving this tumultuous rabble, 
we perceived the monastery of the Assumption, 
which appeared suspended, like an eagle's eyry, 
on the side of a range of stupendous rocks. 
This singular efibrt of human labour is sup- 
posed to have been the work of the persecuted 
Christians of the early ages. Here we found 
the cells of the monks, corridors, refectory, 
and church, hewn out of the solid rock, and 
supported by massive columns, altogether form- 
ing a fortress perfectly impregnable ; for the 
only entrance is up a flight of steps cut in the 
rock to a drawbridge, which being once re- 

B B 2 



372 TCHOUFOUT-KALI. 

moved, the inmates are perfectly secure from 
intrusion. The church has been recently re- 
paired by the Russian government ; and, after 
being closed for centuries, divine service is 
now regularly performed in it. 

The subterranean convent and church, how- 
ever interesting, are quite equalled, in the curious 
nature of their position, by that of the fortress 
Tchoufout-Kali, about a mile higher up the defile. 
This very remarkable fortress is built upon the 
summit of an isolated peak of the same range 
of rocks; and so steep and precipitous is the 
approach, that, in order to reach it, we were 
obliged to climb rather than walk. Being com- 
pletely surrounded by high massive walls, in 
great part hewn out of the rock, and having 
only two gates, which form the sole communi- 
cation with the exterior, the inhabitants, if re- 
solute to defend themselves^ might, with perfect 
security, bid defiance to any attack from with- 
out. 

We have no authentic record by what people, 
or at what epoch, this impregnable fortress was ori- 
ginally constructed. Some antiquaries, ground- 
ing their opinions upon vain traditions, assert 
that it was founded by a congregation of the 
persecuted Arians, who, we know, fled to rocks 
and caverns; while others, upon no better 



CHARACTER OF THE KARAITE JEWS. 373 

authority, assign the honour to the Cimmerians, 
the aborigines of the Crimea, who, on the invasion 
of their country by the Scythians, took refuge 
in the mountains and inaccessible rocks. But 
for what reason it received the Tartar appellation, 
Tchoufout-Kali, (Fortress of the Miscreants,) we 
are no better informed than as to its origin. 

This little fortress town contains abont three 
hundred houses ; the streets are exceedingly nar- 
row; the pavement is the solid rock, and the 
whole kept remarkably clean by the inhabitants, 
who are, without exception, Jews of the Karaite 
sect. Their moral character is unimpeachable, 
their honesty proverbial ; and so highly esteemed 
are they by the government, that they enjoy 
more extensive privileges than any other of the 
tribe inhabiting the Crimea. 

On entering the town we were immediately con- 
ducted to the house of Rebi Youssouf, the rabbin 
or principal chief of the whole of the Israelitish 
Karaite sect in these countries. . This venerable 
elder of the church received us in the most 
friendly manner, and not only regaled us hos- 
pitably, but entertained us with his animated and 
intelligent conversation. After our repast, he 
accompanied us to the synagogue, an antique 
building, differing in no respect from the gene- 
rality of Jewish places of public worship. Here 



374 CEMETERIES OF THE EAST. 

we were shown a manuscript of the Old Testa- 
ment, commencing with the first book of Joshua, 
and so very ancient that no tradition exists 
among the people of its date. 

From thence we passed into an adjoining 
gai'den, solely appropriated to the celebration 
of the Feast of Tabernacles, and continued 
our promenade through the town, to a steep 
flight of steps leading down to what is termed 
the Valley of Jehosaphat, situate in a chasm 
of the rocks. This is the cemetery of the sect, 
resembling a beautiful grove, shaded by the 
dark foliage of a thousand trees, forming a 
striking contrast to the white marble tombs, 
and gloomy beetling rocks that seem to threaten 
destruction at every step. Here several tombs 
were pointed out to me, bearing inscriptions in 
the Hebrew language so far back as the four- 
teenth century ; thus proving the present tribe to 
have been in possession of the fortress at least 
since that period. The trees also exhibit an ap- 
pearance of great age, and are held so sacred, 
and so highly valued by the Karaites, that their 
former masters, the khans of Krim-Tartary, 
when in want of funds, had only to threaten 
their extirpation, in order to extort heavy con- 
tributions from the pious inhabitants. 

You cannot imagine anything more interest* 



I 



RELIGION OF THE KARAITE JEWS. 375 

ing or affecting than the cemeteries of the East ; 
for, whether appropriated as the last resting-place 
to Christian, Jew, or Moslem, they are equally 
the delightful promenade, the peaceful retreat, 
shaded by the weeping ash, the tall cypress, and 
the wide-spreading plane. I never yet visited 
one without witnessing some proof of the re- 
verential piety with which these people regard 
the dead. Here, the mourner was sorrowing 
over the loss of a dear relative ; there, adorning 
the tomb with flowers, or some other memorial 
of afiection. We cannot, however, wonder that 
the silence of the cemetery is so frequently 
sought by the inhabitants of these countries, 
when we remember the belief is general, that 
the souls of the departed hover round their 
earthly tenements, and also about those whom 
they have loved while living. Hence, when the 
Oriental, depressed by misfortune, would seek 
consolation, or, elevated by prosperity, desires 
sympathy, he repairs to the field of the dead, 
and communes with the spirits of his forefathers. 
A few additional details of the manners and 
religion of the Karaite Jews, a people so highly 
esteemed for their moral qualities, and differing 
so widely from the character of the Talmudists, 
may perhaps be interesting. It appears that the 
name of the sect is derived from Karai — the 



376 R£L1GI0N OF TH£ KARAITE JEWS. 

m 

Written Word ; their creed being founded ex- 
clusively on the text of the Old Testament as 
it stands, pure, simple, and uncommentated ; re- 
jecting in toto the traditions and interpreta- 
tions of the rabbins, and also those established by 
the authority of the Talmud. From this latter 
they also differ in various other particulars ; 
for instance, in their degrees of consanguinity, 
mode of circumcision, diet, and marriage — per- 
mitting polygamy, which, however, through the 
influence of custom, is not practised. They 
trace their origin, as a sect, to the dispersion of 
the Israelites at the Babylonish captivity ; and 
they attribute to their long residence among the 
heathen, and to the scarcity of written copies of 
the law, the introduction of a variety of errors 
and fallacious traditions. Hence, on the re- 
establishment of the tribes, finding the scriptures 
loaded with comments, a large portion refused to 
receive them. These called themselves Karaites, 
and in after days were dreadfully persecuted 
by their brethren. 

The Karaites also assert that our Saviour was 
a member of their community, and that he enter- 
tained the same opinion as themselves with re- 
spect to the interpolations of the rabbins : in 
support of which belief, they adduce his repeated 
and violent denunciations against the rabbinical 



RELIGION OF THE KARAITE JEWS. 377 

interpretations, and most positively deny that 
any member of their sect was, in the slightest 
degree, implicated in the crucifixion. These 
people likewise believe that they possess the only 
authentic copy of the Old Testament extant. 
Like the Quakers, they provide amply for their 
own poor ; are principally engaged in commerce, 
and generally wealthy. We also frequently meet 
with them, in Poland and Gallicia, where they 
are highly esteemed, and enjoy the same privi- 
leges as the Christians. Perhaps no religious 
sect educate their children with greater care, the 
whole, without exception, being publicly in- 
structed in the synagogue. From this solicitude 
also originates the separation of the books of the 
Old Testament ; the Pentateuch being reserved 
as a guide of faith and morals for the young ; 
while the perusal of the remainder is deferred 
till time shall have matured the intellect. This 
division they trace to the usages of their fore- 
fathers from time immemorial. In their dress 
they resemble the Armenians, wearing long flow- 
ing robes, and on the head a high fur cap. 



378 VALLET OF BAIDAR. 



LETTER XXXIV. 

VALLEY OP BA1DAB — SCKNBRY — HOSPITALITY OP THB TAR- 
TARS—PASSAGE OP THB MERDVBN — TBRRIPIC DBSCBNT 

SINGULAR CONSTRUCTION OP THE ROAD — ARRIVAL AT 
ALOUPKA. 

We took a different route on our return to 
Aloupka, when we passed through the charming 
valley of Baidar ; and no part of the Crimea, not 
even the beautiful vales on the south coast, has 
been so highly extolled as this valley. It has 
been described by one as '^ far surpassing John- 
son's Abyssinian vale ;" by another, as " a ter- 
restrial paradise ;" by a third, as the " Tauric Ar- 
cadia ;" and even Lady Craven has given it the 
high-sounding title of the " Crimean Tempe !" 

As I do not wish to disappoint future travel- 
lers, I assure you, without the slightest intention 
to underrate the beauties of the valley of Baidar, 
that we have a hundred quite as delightful in 
Great Britain, the only difference being in cli- 
mate and productions ; and if we have not a 
cloudless sky, we are exempt from the burning 
heat of the sun ; if we cannot boast of the fig, 



SCENERY. 379 

the pomegranate, and the olive, our trees are at 
least far more splendid, and our verdure far more 
refreshing ; with the advantage of being every- 
where watered by a noble river— always the 
principal ornament of, and absolutely necessary 
to complete, a picturesque landscape. 

The valley of Baidar is deficient in this charm 
of rural scenery ; for it has neither lake nor 
waterfall, and its tiny stream barely deserves 
the appellation of rivulet. Neither are its 
mountains sufficiently lofty to be called sub- 
lime, nor its rocks grotesque enough to amuse 
the traveller. Still, notwithstanding all this, it 
is a very pretty valley ; and a poet might sing 
sonnets in its praise, without resorting to in- 
vention. Being about fifteen wersts (ten miles) 
in length, and six or seven in breadth, and 
surrounded by romantic hills, the eye can roam 
at once over all its beauties, and they are not a 
few. 

Besides, as these Arcadian fields are protected 
from the cold wintry winds, and irrigated by 
numerous bubbling springs, the productions of 
more southern climes attain the highest perfec- 
tion. Indeed, everywhere, while wandering 
through this lovely valley, we are delighted with 
its rich orchards and vineyards, green fields, 
rural pastures, and neat Tartar villages. Here 



380 HOSPITALITY OF THE TARTARS. 

I saw some of the finest oaks and most luxuriant 
com in the Crimea ; and among all the other val- 
leys I beheld I none equalled it in fertility. There 
is also a degree of independence in the bearing of 
the Tartar inhabitants which is always agreeable 
to an Englishman^ and they appeared to com- 
mand all the comforts of life. 

We passed the night at one of the pretty vil- 
lages of this valley, called Kalendia, where we 
found, as usual among this primitive people, a 
kind reception, smiling faces, and, as far as their 
slender means would permit, good cheer. One 
of the most beautiful traits that distinguish the 
character of the Tartars, is their hospitality ; no 
traveller, however unknown, whether Jew, Turk, 
or Christian, ever applied, even in the poorest 
hamlet, without being certain of having his wants 
supplied. 

In every town and village of the Crimea, a 
khan, or species of inn, has been established, 
from time immemorial, called the Oda, expressly 
set apart for the reception of the stranger, where 
he is supplied with a divan for a couch, fire, and 
refreshment, free of expense. It is generally 
the moullah (priest) who takes upon himself the 
benevolent office of entertaining the stranger ; 
but though, as I before observed, remuneration 
is never demanded, it is expected, out of courtesy. 



PASSAGE OF THE MERDVEN. 



381 



that the wealthy will present a small gratuity, 
which is always thankfully received. 

It may be necessary to mention, for the in- 
formation of travellers in the Crimea, a country 
nearly destitute of inns, that should a stranger 
arrive in a town or village unprovided with the 
necessary travelling firman, &c., and may re- 
quire redress for any grievance, or experience 
difficulty in procuring a relay of horses, or ac- 
commodation for the night, he has only to apply 
to the proper officer, whose duty it is to see his 
requisitions complied with, and he will be in- 
stantly attended to. In a village where the 
population does not exceed a hundred, this 
officer is called the On-Bachi ; and when above 
that number, the Uz-Bachi. 

To avoid the intense heat of the day, we re- 
commenced our journey the next morning, long 
before the dawn, when we crossed, on our way 
to the south coast, the famous passage of the 
Merdven, the Pant-Diable of the Crimea. The 
road, or bridle-path, is carried partly through a 
deep ravine, and partly up the perpendicular 
side of a rock of terrific elevation : the difficulty 
of constructing such a miraculous road you will 
easily conceive, when I tell you, that if we 
take only one length of it, — ^for instance, eight 
hundred paces, — we shall find that it contains 



382 PASSAGE OF THE MERDVEN. 

forty zig-zag stories, one above the other. Per- 
haps the annexed sketch will convey to you a 
more correct idea of this very remarkable pas- 
sage than even a lengthened description. There 



is no tradition extant, at what epoch or by what 
people this work was constructed : it is, how- 
ever, conjectured, that nothing but the com- 
mercial spirit of ancient Greece could have sur- 
mounted the difficulty. We may compare it, 
without exaggeration, to a voyage in the air; 
and yet such is the surefooted ness of the Tartar 



ARRIVAL AT ALOUPKA. 383 

horses, that they perform it with the utmost 
facility. 

I have frequently traversed dangerous passes 
in other mountainous countries; but none so 
remarkable, precipitous, or bold. The view also 
from the summit is strikingly grand, compre- 
hending the Euxine, and a great part of the 
southern coast; and I can with confidence 
assure the traveller who may be inclined to 
perform this pilgrimage, that he will not be 
disappointed. 

Having surmounted our difficulty, and sup- 
ported, as best we might, the rays of a burning 
sun, we descended a similar neck-breaking pass, 
till we came to the village of Koutschouk-Koi, 
hanging upon the precipitous sides of a rock, 
where, having taken some refreshment, we pro- 
ceeded by a narrow bridle-path among the 
rocks; and, being at a considerable elevation 
above the sea, enjoyed at every turn a new 
landscape of some of the boldest and most pic- 
turesque scenery in the Crimea, till we arrived 
at Aloupka, only just in time for a grand enter- 
tainment given by Count Worrenzow, for the 
first time, in the noble salle'd-manger of his new 
chateau at Aloupka. 



384 SOUTH COAST OF THE CRIMEA. 



LETTER XXXV. 

CHATEAU OF COUNT WORRBNZOW AT ALOUPKA — ITS ABCHI- 
TBCTURB — PLKASU RE- GROUNDS — MARSANDA -— IT8 TILLiA 
—SITUATION AND PARK — VILLAS OF THE RUSSIAN NOBI- 
LITY — THE EMPBROR*S PARR AT ORIANDA — THE CRIBCBA 
UNFAVOURABLE TO THE GROWTH OF FOREST TRBES— FETB 
CHAMPBTRB GIVEN BY GENERAL COUNT DB WITT. 

1 SHALL now proceed to give you a short 
description of the south coast of the Crimea. Its 
picturesque beauties have been already so often 
sung by poets and travellers, that any praise of 
mine would be superfluous. Having, in a former 
letter, given you an account of its most striking 
beauties, I shall merely at present confine my- 
self to a few criticisms on the grounds and villas 
of the Russian noblemen that adorn it. 

We shall therefore commence with Aloupka, 
where the governor-general, Count Worrenzow, 
is building a ch&teau, which, if completed accord- 
ing to the original plan, will be undoubtedly the 
most splendid baronial castle in the Russian em- 
pire ; as that portion already finished cannot be 
surpassed for the beauty, solidity, and pure taste 



CHATEAU OF COUNT WORRENZOW. 385 

of the architecture. The noble proprietor is 
extremely fortunate in having, in the immediate 
vicinity, the most excellent stone for building, of 
a beautiful colour, and as hard as granite, found 
in the bosom of a spent volcano. But, however 
we may admire the fine taste and beauty of the 
architecture of this really magnificent edifice, we 
cannot extend it to the judgment which selected 
this site for its erection, which, I understand, 
was chosen by a French architect. Fancy a stu- 
pendous rock, towering to the heavens, nearly 
destitute of foliage to its summit, with just as 
much space of fertile ground between it and the 
sea as w^ould suffice an English farmer for a 
turnip-garden. To be sure, there are many pretty 
little things to admire, in the shape of caverns, 
defiles, a spent volcano, grotesque rocks enclos- 
ing petty paddocks blooming with flowers, tiny 
cascades, bubbling fountains, artificial ponds, &c., 
but all so diminutive, and contracted into so 
small a compass, that, when compared with the 
stupendous castle they are intended to adoiii, 
they appear like babies' toys, the very work of 
children. Whether we sit in the drawing-room, 
wander through its lofty hall, or ascend its tur- 
reted battlements, we have no other view than 
the sea on one side, which, from constant repe- 
tition, becomes monotonous ; and, on the other, 

VOL. T. CO 



386 SOUTH COAST OF THE CRIMEA. 

the coldy barren sides of the gigantic Ai-] 
together with a few vineyards, and a Tartar 
village with its little mosques ; — by-the-bye, the 
most picturesque feature in the landscape. 

Such a castle, frowning down in its lofty 
grandeur, would have been most characteristic 
of bygone days, when force was law ; it would 
then have been admirably adapted for levying 
contributions on the passing traveller, or the 
mariner who, from distress of weather, or teme- 
rity, might approach the lordly coast ; but, in 
the present enlightened age of good government, 
the dwellings of the great and wealthy are con- 
nected in our ideas with more peaceable accom- 
paniments. We expect to see the green, undu- 
lating lawn adorned with the wide^-spreading 
foliage of its noble trees ; the extensive, well 
laid out park animated with the gentle fawn and 
the graceful deer ; with here and there, in the far 
distance, a glimpse of agricultural fields, clothed 
in their many tints and shades, intermingled with 
the bright silver of the meandering stream, and 
meadows and pastures chequered with their nu- 
merous flocks and herds. These pastoral and 
truly picturesque scenes, which, from their va- 
riety, impart additional beauty to the sublime 
grandeur of mountain, rock, and glen. Count W. 
can never enjoy at his proud chateau of Aloupka ; 



MARSANDA* 387 

for what wealth, what power, what art, can re- 
move mountains, or change the flinty rock into 
fertile fields ? 

The traveller who rambles over the south 
coast of the Crimea, and visits Marsanda, also 
the property of the count, and only distant from 
Aloupka about eleven miles, will be surprised, 
while admiring the manifold beauties of the 
scenery, that it was not chosen for the erection 
of his ch&teau. Here we have an extensive 
estate, abounding with some of the most sublime 
and lovely scenery in the Crimea. A stupendous 
chain of rocks, in all their grotesque forms, 
clothed to the summit with the finest foliage, 
protects this highly favoured spot from violent 
winds, particularly the cold, chilling blasts of the 
north. Before us lies extended the wide, expan- 
sive Euxine, with its many bays, lofty precipices 
and promontories ; while, to the right and left, 
the eye wanders with delight through the fertile 
valley of Yalta, with its rolling stream, Tartar 
villages, noble bay, and pretty town. Moreover, 
this fine estate has all the advantage of having 
in great part a fertile soil, watered by several 
mountain torrents; — here rushing through a 
deep gorge, there meandering through a tiny 
valley, then dashing downwards from the dizzy 
heights of a craggy rock, with the loud roar of a 



388 SOUTH COAST OF THE CRIMEA. 

waterfall. Nor are these the only attractions of 
Marsanda ; for, besides extensive corn-fields^ pas- 
tures, and vineyards, there are virgin forests, com- 
posed of the wild vine, the fig, the pomegranate, 
the oak, the beech, and chesnut, together with 
innumerable parasitical plants, forming graceful 
garlands from tree to tree, all planted by the 
hand of Nature, and admirably harmonising their 
various tints and shades. How often, while rid- 
ing over this beautiful and picturesque estate, I 
vainly wished to be possessed of the power of a 
magician ! Then would I have removed the neat 
little villa of Marsanda to Aloupka, so adapted to 
adorn its diminutive pleasure-grounds, and placed 
its magnificent chateau here. Count W. then 
might proudly say he possessed the finest cha- 
teau, and the most picturesesque park and 
grounds, in the empire. 

The south coast of the Crimea, as I before 
remarked, abounds with the country seats of 
some of the highest aristocratical families in the 
Russian empire ; but the style of the architec- 
ture, and laying out of the grounds, remind an 
Englishman so forcibly of the cockney villas, 
with their flower-gardens, in the environs of 
London, that he is almost led to believe the 
noble proprietors must have taken them for 
their models. A flower-garden is undoubtedly 



PARK OF THE EMPEROR AT ORIANDA. 389 

a very pretty ornament ; but while we sit in the 
rich saloon of a prince, with the eternal prospect 
from its windows of beds of bachelors' buttons, 
sweetwilliam, orange-flowers, and daffadown- 
dillies, their poverty and insignificance, at least, 
does not correspond with the rank and wealth of 
the proprietor, nor say much for his taste in 
landscape gardening. I must not also forget the 
little groves of cypresses, a most favourite tree 
with the Russians, and no doubt interesting to 
all northern people, connected as it is with the 
description of the gardens and cemeteries of the 
Orientals ; yet, when planted for the purpose of 
ornamenting a pleasure-ground, in long, straight 
rows, their dark shades, to say nothing of their 
most unpicturesque form, throw a dismal gloom 
over the whole landscape, and never failed to 
remind me of a Turkish cemetery, and that man 
is born to die. 

To this sweeping censure there are, however, 
several redeeming exceptions : for, in addition 
to that of Count Worrenzow, there is the gentle- 
manly villa and fine park belonging to the Count 
de Witt, together with the elegant mansion and 
well laid-out grounds of General Leon Nariskin : 
but, above all, the extensive and beautiful park 
of the emperor at Orianda everywhere indicates 
the tasteful hand of the landscape gardener, does 



390 SOUTH COAST OF THE CRIMEA. 

our countryman Mr. Boss every credit, and 
cannot be too highly eulogised. Here I saw, 
perhaps, the finest Arbutus Andrackne existing, 
measuring not less than ten feet in circum- 
ference. Mr. Ross considers it a different spe- 
cies from any we have in England. The juniper 
is of equally gigantic proportions, and everj- 
where grows wild, and generally out of a cleft 
of the rocks. Notwithstanding this, the Crimea 
is by no means famous for the growth of trees : 
the oak, and every other species of forest- trees, 
are far inferior in size and beauty to our own in 
England ; and in the lowlands, called the Steppe, 
they altogether perish, after a brief existence 
of a year or two. ^ The vine is very mnch oul- 
tivated on the south coast; and though it has 
the advantage of a fine situation and good cli- 
mate, yet the produce is not commensurate with 
the labour of the vine-dresser ; nor does the wine 
bear a high character, either for flavour or 
strength. The various garden fruits are excellent 
of their kind, particularly the apples, which are 
so highly esteemed as to form an article of com* 
merce even to Moscow. 

Immediately on my return from Bagtehe- 
Serai, I was invited by the Count de Witt to a 
fite champHre at his country-seat, Orianda ; and 
as it was intended to be very grand, with the 



FETE CHAMPETRE. 391 

accompaniments of illumination and fireworks, I 
may perhaps be allowed this time, from the 
novelty of the entertainments, to trespass upon 
your patience, and give a detailed description. 

In every country, music, dancing, and illumi- 
nations are most attractive. On this occasion we 
had an immense assemblage, and I wondered not 
a little where they had all come from. Besides 
the courtly dames elegantly attired, and their 
high-bom cavaliers decked with the jewelled 
order, there were a number of pretty girls, in 
their light muslin dressed, and young aides-de- 
camp and officers of every rank in the army and 
navy, which always gives a cheerful tone to so- 
ciety. When the majority of the guests were 
arrived, and just as the shades of night had com- 
pletely replaced the light of day, the whole of 
our party sallied forth to the park, escorted by 
a number of domestics bearing torches. After 
passing through a deep, gloomy defile, we all at 
once emerged into a most romantic little pad- 
dock, completely encircled by a chain of rocks, 
of stupendous elevation, the whole brilliantly 
illuminated with myriads of variegated lamps ; 
at the same time, thousands of rockets, in all 
their bizarre forms, were flying about in every 
direction, — now lighting up the vast Euxine, 
and then the dizzy heights above. 



392 SOUTH COAST OP THE CRIMEA. 

la addition to this, the count's yacht, lying in 
the bay, was hung with lamps, every moment 
changing from one fanciful device to another ; 
while the loud roar of cannon echoed and re- 
echoed, far and wide, through the glens and 
rocks. Pretty tents of the most graceful forms 
were erected for taking refreshment ; during 
which the most exquisite music sweetly sounded 
through the air, (the performers completely con- 
cealed from view,) giving to the whole a super- 
natural cast, as if created by enchantment. 

From hence we passed into another of these 
little romantic spots ; then through grottoes and 
caverns, all similarly illuminated, with tents and 
tables laid out with every description of light 
refreshment ; and, be it remembered, all this in 
a climate with a sky perfectly cloudless. After 
remaining in this fairy land till about midnight, 
we returned to the count's villa, where dancing 
and card-playing was carried on till Aurora 
summoned us to our homes. 

Adieu I 

END OF VOL. I. 



LONDON : 
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